Saturday, October 13, 2012


Ever notice a quote in a newspaper article or other written source that has an obvious typo or grammatical gaffe followed by [sic]?  That part in brackets means "thus was it written", basically owning that the writer knows that the something's amok in the quote with spelling, syntax, or whatever, but that's how it was originally stated.

  • The Kindergartner in the family greatly enjoyed his snack from [the lucky pot] (otherwise known as "potluck") one day this week. 
  • The Second Grader was eager to tell his dad that the lad had been allowed to bring home the  classroom 2013 [alamanack] to peruse at his leisure. 
I'd add these to [stoo-dul] in our family dictionary of toddlerisms, were it not for the fact that the lads who utter such endearing blunders are hardly toddlers anymore.  Apparently, a new chapter is in order.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

up for review

Shopping for shoes, clothes, or just about anything else with four bambini in tow (or even one if that one isn't in the mood to shop) is rarely easy or expeditious.  That's why I do a lot of online shopping for everything from apparel to household items.  Many online retailers now offer the ability to post reviews of products one has purchased, which I find immensely helpful when I am perusing the wares.   Positive or negative, these reviews are major factors in the decision-making process, especially for something sight-unseen. 

For example, I have been weeding out the well-used plastic sippy cups, plates.  I'm  looking for sustainably-sourced, well-made (ideally by people who work for a company respectful of its employees) replacements that won't leach toxic chemicals or end up in a landfill not too long from now.   Recently I ran across some tempered drinking glasses purported to be kid-friendly (as evidenced by their use in French cafeterias) even though they are glass.  Of them one reviewer wrote

 "I have four boys and a clumsy wife.  They break glasses all the time.  I was thinking of buying [another brand of glass tumblers] and I ran into these.  I read some of the reviews and one of them convinced me to try these. WOW. They are perfect."  

God bless that clumsy wife.

The world's largest online marketplace isn't the only website offering reviews.  Plenty of online retailers do now, including those hawking shoes, apparel, and just about everything else.  Man on the Street testimonials like "I'm [yay] tall and weigh [x] number of pounds, and a size [q] fits great on me!" are far more convincing than the advertising copy when you happen to have similar measurements.

Whenever possible I try to learn from other people's mistakes.   Factoring in the opinions and experiences of others when considering a purchase (online or otherwise)  or researching companies I'm considering hiring to provide a service at our home (such as to our air conditioner) is sort of like that.  We have to keep in mind, however, that not everyone has the same expectations, standards, or objectives for a product.  What I would consider fine quality might be junk to someone else, and vice versa.  What others might consider a great book to read with their children as evidenced by their glowing reviews of the tome, I might find to be a "dud" (or worse).

As much as we rely upon each other for help in making decisions not only about online shopping but about anything in life, allowing others to make decisions for us is a risk to recognize and avoid.  Ultimately, we are responsible for our choices, decisions, and behavior.  When taking advice from others, let us look to trusted sources, most especially to those who help us remember our identities as children of God and encourage us to behave as such.

We can't reclaim the time, money, and energy spent on things like drinking glasses and apparel that are not that important in the grand scheme of things.  We can't take these things with us at the end of our earthly lives, nor do they define us as people.   Other people's opinions should never matter more than the Lord's opinion of us and the ones we hold of ourselves by way of a conscience informed by study of God's law and the precepts of our faith, prayer, and discernment. 

In the final analysis, we will each undergo a review of sorts.  The choices we've made and the work we've done may or may not be graphically rated on a scale of one to five stars, but the love we've given and the willingness we've shown to align ourselves more closely to Christ each day can only help recommend us to the Father. 

*I haven't actually purchased the drinking glasses yet, but if and when that day comes, I'm going for the tumblers that withstood four boys and a clumsy wife.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

mama duck

We may have put the kabosh on living, breathing furry friends for the time being, but there's no house rule against imagining oneself a critter.  The elder lad was known to declare himself a dog when he was about two or three, and now the two-year-old younger lass has been telling us that she is a duck.   This means, of course, that I am her mama duck.  "I need my mommy duck!" she says, with eyes far more expressive than any duck I've ever seen.  Many times I do in fact feel like a mama duck with my ducklings not necessarily all in a row, so I play along...

Monday, October 08, 2012

face time

The bambini love calling family members via FaceTime on our gadgets that support the application.  It's a bit like The Muppet Show while we are waiting for the call to connect, with much jostling and jockeying for that front and center spot, as well as some last minute reminders hissed by the director (that'd be me) to "modulate your voices" (as Grannie would say) so that the people on the receiving end can hear what we're saying. 

Being able to connect with our loved ones by seeing their faces and hearing their voices in real time is an amazing boon, one of the biggest advantages of our present-day technology.  When we can't be in the same room with our friends and loved ones, we can still see and hear them.  It's not quite the same as being able to reach out and hug them, but we'll take it!

In this world with so many ways of communicating, there is still no substitute for time spent together face to face.  Phone calls keep voices fresh in our minds; and letters, e-mail, texting, and social media are better than nothing, but each of these media have their limitations.  We can only infer the intentions with which people write to us; we can't hear their tone of voice or see their facial expressions.  As the messages get shorter, such as in texting, there is ample room for misunderstandings to arise from such short snippets and exchanges.  While they are useful for a variety of things, they certainly can't be the primary means of communication between two people, and there are many situations for which these modes of communication are simply inappropriate.

Then there is the time factor.  It's difficult to have meaningful conversations when time is limited, conditions are noisy, or gadgets are involved.  When there is only time for exchanging pleasantries, how can any real relationship be cultivated or maintained?

While the tools at our disposal continue to evolve in capability, they cannot intuit the meaning of a human heart and convey that to another.   Only we can do that for ourselves, and the best way to accomplish that is face to face.  Until we can visit in person, we'll make use of the array of technological tools made to keep us in touch, always preferring actual face time to its virtual counterpart.

Friday, October 05, 2012

sugar shock

On Fridays the eighth graders at our parish school stage a bake sale for the rest of the students, who come with their quarters after school Mass.  Today was the first time the younger lad's kindergarten class went to school Mass (they had been going to chapel separately since school began) and bake sale, so I was eager to hear how things went from the younger lad's perspective.

"Good," he said, in his usual way

"What did you get at the bake sale?" I asked him.

The elder lad responded for his brother, "he got a graham cracker with frosting and colored chocolate chips.  I was going to get one, but it looked really unhealthy, so I got a donut."

Thursday, October 04, 2012

out and about

In the past couple of weeks we've been taking in some local attractions and special events:
  • We made it out to see the last B-29 bomber still flying at the local air and space museum, which made for good nostalgia considering it was the plane my Papa Jack trained to serve on as a flight engineer in World War II (though the War thankfully ended before he saw combat).  That event also allowed us the opportunity to sample some of the offerings from a food truck, which was fun from a foodie standpoint, if not necessarily one of expediency.  We waited for a *long* time for that food. 
  • We had a great time at our parish school's annual Fair, complete with tasty (and quick) food served by the Knights of Columbus, pony rides (for the horse-loving lads, anyway), a petting zoo, lots of fun games, an obstacle course, and a live bluegrass band.  It was a humdinger of a festival.
  • We've been on a few field trips.  The elder lass's preschool class went to a humongous fire station *and* the pumpkin patch (not all in the same place or on the same day), and the younger lad's kindergarten class went to the apple orchard. 
While we greatly treasure and preciously guard our stay home days more so all the time, getting out to these events has been refreshing, exhilarating, and delightful for everyone involved. 
    Related Posts with Thumbnails