About Me

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I am a Catholic wife and mother living in western New York State.

Meet the Family

  • DoorMan - Husband and Dad, extremely talented garage door guy
  • B - budding new media evangelist, avid reader, soccer lover, boy age 14
  • B - karate white belt and lover of Legos, boy age 8
  • MAB - me: wife, mom, homemaker, and more


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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook November 7, 2009

Outside my window... the late afternoon sun simply glowing on the leaves and grass and across my desk.

I am thinking... about dinner, and how I should get up and make it soon.

I am thankful for... my new part-time seasonal job.

I am wearing... grey skirt, blue top, slipper-socks.

I am remembering... my neighbors and how we will miss them when they leave (later today).

I am going... to have a busy week.

I am reading... nothing until I get to the library on Monday.

I am hoping... that a special intention which I cannot mention will be answered and everything will be all right for a certain someone.

On my mind... Fort Hood and Obama-care.

From the learning room... Explorers, and the Letter J.

Noticing that... my desk is a mess, and so is our office (I share it with DoorMan).

Pondering these words... "If I had my way, I'd shuffle off to Buffalo, sit by the lake and watch the world go by."

From the kitchen... chicken chowder cooked by the Holy Name men.

Around the house... I need to clean.

One of my favorite things... last.fm

From my picture journal...

The Holy Name men (and woman) and the cauldron of chowder. Rumor has it, the cauldron was a fuel cell from a jet fighter in a past life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book Review: The Night Watchman

A year ago homicide detective Ray Quinn had it all. Now he is a lonely night watchman at a condo, who gets around on his bad leg with a cane and a lot of pain.

One night he discovers two bodies on the premises, and his world, already turned upside down, spins out of control again. He reluctantly becomes involved in solving the crime, only to find that the answers he finds hit close to home.

This book was a very enjoyable read. Fast-paced and dryly witty, it is a police procedural with a twist. It is also a classic whodunnit, and the reader has all the clues in front of him to solve the case along with Ray. I appreciated the fact that faith is introduced and examined in an honest way, via the sister of one of the victims. There is also a blessed lack of gore, descriptive sex and foul language.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day Book, Second Week of May 2009

Outside my window ...
the groundhog (Groundy) made an appearance today while the sky was dark with storm clouds. He was laying next to the shed taking in the neighborhood.

I am listening to...
BamBam humming and a lawn mower somewhere nearby, maybe Paul?

To be healthy and happy...
I had my eyes examined and am getting bifocals. Yes, I am an old woman.

I am thankful for ...

From the kitchen ...
Brownies, lots of brownies. I baked a double batch and am sending a bunch to the Buffalo Catholic Homeschool Conference this Saturday.

I am wearing ...
what was formerly a nice yellow short-sleeved tee. It is now grease-stained from moving old garage door sections out of the gusty wind this afternoon.

I am creating ...
homeschool plans for next year, still.

On my iTunes...
lately I am loving Dire Straits and REO Speedwagon. Reliving my teen / college years.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
hmmmm. I need to work on this one!

I am reading ...
The Night Watchman. I am reading an advance reading copy (ARC) to review for LibraryThing. I review books as a hobby. Also, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, aloud to the boys.

I recently watched ...
The original Stuart Little with Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie.

I am hoping and praying ...
for all to go smoothly here on Saturday in my absence.

On keeping home ...
I am working on getting more sleep, to get more done.

One of my favorite things ...
is the semi-annual library book sale. Ours just happens to be tomorrow at ten. I'll be there with a pocket full of money!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
include the library book sale, Arch's final track-and-field camp, the BCHS on Saturday, and a blissfully empty calendar on Sunday.

Picture thoughts
"Juxtaposition of life and death."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Day Book, First Week of May 2009

Outside my window ...
a robin has made a nest on a rack on the back of our shed. There are two little blue eggs in it.

I am listening to...
the boys planning / discussing / arguing whatever escapade they are up to this afternoon.

To be healthy and happy...
we took a walk during baseball practice.

I am thankful for ...
Arch's good results on his standardized test.

From the kitchen ...
New Orleans Bread Pudding to use up some leftover bread from the Holy Name breakfast.

I am wearing ...
a pink shirt and brown skirt.

I am creating ...
a more organized pile of chaos.

On my iTunes...
the Pledge of Allegiance to music. Arch has to learn it to sing at the National Day of Prayer on Thursday.

Bringing beauty to my home ...

I am reading ...
The Penderwicks, aloud to the boys at bedtime.

I recently watched ...
Monk Season 6 discs one and two. Waiting to disc three to arrive in the mail.

I am hoping and praying ...
that it does not rain on Niagara Square at noon on Thursday.

On keeping home ...
I am weeding out old stuff from my planner.

One of my favorite things ...
are old cookbooks for 49¢at the thrift store. I just picked up one called Thoughts for Buffets which is just chock full of cool menus and recipes.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
include Arch's first baseball game, BamBam's last story hour. A trip to Buffalo for the National Day of Prayer and a visit to the Central Library.

Picture thoughts
My tulips. Lovely.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day Book, Last Week of April 2009

Outside my window ...
we have a groundhog living in our yard, under the shed. BamBam saw him first and declared he had seen a beaver! I'm torn between naming him Chuck or Grady.

I am listening to...
the very quiet hum of my iMac's fan. The boys are asleep, that's why I can hear it.

To be healthy and happy...
we took a walk yesterday. Such beautiful weather!

I am thankful for ...

From the kitchen ...
came pancakes this morning. Not usually seen on a weekday, and probably won't be again for a long time.

I am wearing ...
my old blue-and-green floral shirt which I don't like. My boys were both telling me at bedtime how much they love it. BamBam remembered me carrying him when he was a toddler and him putting his hand in the pocket. Arch claims he likes it "because I grew up with it."

I am creating ...
weekly lesson plans for Arch for the sixth grade. Most of the books are here, except math. After that, I'll move on to the kindergarten plans for BamBam.

On my iTunes...
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Bringing beauty to my home ...
with flowers hand picked for my by BamBam. Lots and lots of dandelions to brighten up the dining room table.

I am reading ...
The Wisdom of Father Dowling, which is a collection of short stories all previously published. I am also reading an advanced reading copy of a biography of Mother Teresa. I have promised to review it, and I'll post my review here when I'm done.

I recently watched ...
an absolutely antique Alfred Hitchcock movie I had never even heard of before. Blackmail, filmed in 1929. He was still in his London period. The cinematography was amazing for what it was. The first few scenes were completely silent aside for the soundtrack! Thanks to Big Jim for giving us the video.

I am hoping and praying ...
that the business continues to grow, despite the economy. We had good news this week, with the addition of at least two new commercial customers.

On keeping home ...
I have to weed the front garden on the next sunny day. The downstairs must be spiffed up tomorrow because the lady is coming to cut my hair in the afternoon. It's mostly just cluttered.

One of my favorite things ...
piles of clean folded laundry. I just wish it would stay clean and folded!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
include co-op, baseball, track-and-field and serving at Mass for Arch. Story hour for BamBam, Holy Name Society for DoorMan. And me? I'm getting a hair cut tomorrow, and being treated to a mother / child breakfast at church after Mass on Sunday.

Picture thoughts
My daffodils, which I believed had frozen to death before they bloomed. They made it after all!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Marriage Meme

Now there's a marriage one. Again, I'm not tagging anyone on this, just do it if you want.

For all you married people out there! Tag your married friends that you want to know about!
(Don't forget to tag the person who tagged you!)

1. When was your "engagement" anniversary: May 17, 1994

2. When is your "marriage" anniversary: September 30, 1995

3. How long have you known your spouse: Since May 1990

4. How long did you date/court before you were engaged: 47 days

5. Where did you meet your spouse for the first time: Briandi's

6. What is your spouses full name: Stanley Francis Bernard, Jr.

7. Do you have any children yet: yes

8. How many: Two

9. Do you have any house pets: No

10. Do you own a house or rent: Rent

11. Do you live in the country or town/city: city

12. What is one of your favorite activities together: hitting the wine trail

13. Do you have a favorite vacation spot: New York City

14. How many siblings (including in-laws): 4 borhters; 5 sisters

15. What church do you attend: All Saints Lockport

16. Is this the church you were married in: No

17. What town is your current address: Lockport

18. Do you work or stay at home: Stay home

19. Where did you honeymoon: Finger Lakes

20: Leave a piece of marriage advice: Be yourself.

Friday, February 06, 2009

First Born Meme

I was tagged on facebook. I'm doing it, but not tagging anyone else....

Here you go mommies - a different kind of survey for a change - it's all about your first born! Just copy and paste it in a new note for yourself! Tag 10 mommies when you're finished.

Let's see how much you remember!

1. WAS YOUR FIRST PREGNANCY PLANNED? yes and no.... yes we were trying; no, I had a procedure performed that month, and my Gyn said I wouldn't be able to conceive until my next cycle. I never got a next cycle.....


3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? shocked and very happy, speechless



6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? test at the Gyn office, following up after my earlier procedure



9. DUE DATE? July 18

10. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS? yes, and severe food aversions

11. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? nothing, I could barely eat

12. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST? the smell of food





17. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW? knew both times

18. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY? yes: failed my one-hour glucose test; had slight hypertension; in early labor my contractions were very unorganized; at hospital had very high blood pressure, had to be in bed the whole time with a saline flush, fetal heart monitor in his scalp, fetal bloodwork, I had an oxygen mask and constant blood pressure monitor; the neo-natal transport team was in the delivery room ready to take him to Children's. He ended up being fine......apgar of 9.

19. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH? Millard Suburban



22. WHO WAS WITH YOU WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH? husband, doctor, nurse, two neo-natal paramedics (if that's what they're called)


24. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? epidural, which they had delayed because they were debating a c-section. Then the guy was busy... finally I got it with my contractions about 15 seconds apart, and I delivered soon after.





Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I was tagged by The Byrdman on Facebook.

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

  1. I am terrified to fly. I had a bad flight once in college, going back to school from Winter Break. There were about five passengers on a big commercial plane, and we took off late from Newark in a blinding snowstorm, very early in the morning. Out of my window I saw lights, very close to our plane, as we were ascending. I think we almost hit another plane. Whether we did or not, it terrified me. Then, I flew into Boston for work once. No one warned me that it was perfectly normal for the plane to fly out over the Atlantic and bank so steeply that all you can see out you window is water. I haven't flown since 1993.
  2. I am a Mac person. I have never in my life owned a PC. I am on my fifth Mac in the last fifteen years.
  3. Autumn is my favorite season. Cool but not too cold. Apples, pumpkins, colorful leaves, Thanksgiving.
  4. I am from Queens. We lived in Woodside until I was almost five.
  5. I have lived more than half of my life in either Erie or Niagara County, counting college.
  6. I am completely Irish. Period.
  7. I have started to write at least five novels. I never finish them.
  8. I am a revert to the Catholic faith. I never formally left it, but I did not practice my faith (or any other one) for about eleven years.
  9. I love Golden Age detective books. I own have read everything Agatha Christie has ever written, including two autobiographies and a book of poems. I also own all of the Sherlock Holmes books and all of Chesterton's Father Brown books.
  10. I am an avid planner and a recovering procrastinator.
  11. I love to cook and bake. I seldom follow a recipe to the letter. My cookbooks are covered with notes in the margins about what I actually did when I made the dish.
  12. I would love to have a viable business selling used books online. I do that now, but I don't devote enough time to it to make it really profitable.
  13. I drink two cups of coffee every morning. No more, no less.
  14. I don't have any nieces or nephews on my side of the family, but on my husband's side I have eighteen nieces and nephews, two nephews-in-law and one grand-nephew.
  15. We own a huge amount of books. We have books in every room of our house except the bathrooms. Even have bookcases in the hallways. I am supposed to be organizing and cataloging them, but..... (see # 10 above)
  16. I have read every Jane Austen novel, and seen at least one movie adaptation of each one.
  17. My grandmothers were named Catherine and Kathryn. My aunt was named Katherine. My husband's grandmother was named Katarzyna. If we ever have a baby girl, she will be named Cathryn.
  18. I have more blood relations (first cousins once removed and second cousins) in Ireland than in America.
  19. I have always loved to watch sports. I have been a fan of the Mets since I was eight. My favorite sport to watch on TV is baseball. Close seconds are football and NASCAR.
  20. I have a devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux. My father grew up in Little Flower parish in Flatbush, Brooklyn. My mother grew up at St. Theresa's in Sunnyside, Queens. I took Therese as my confirmation name.
  21. Before I was married, if you considered my confirmation name, my initials spelled MATH. I aced the math regents my freshman year in high school, and earned the monicker Ms. MATH from a certain disgruntled classmate who only got a 99.
  22. We don't have cable TV or a video game console. My children don't have hand-held games or cell phones. They are not allowed to watch TV commercials or to be on the computer without me. They read things printed on paper, and play with things they can actually touch.
  23. Wherever we have lived, we have had homeschoolers as close neighbors, just coincidentially. I think there are a lot more homeschoolers out there than people imagine.
  24. I have learned that motherhood makes one much less squeamish. I'm not even afraid of spiders anymore.
  25. I love to do needlecrafts like crocheting and counted cross-stitch, but I seldom find the time. I have a pile of unfinished projects. After my mother-in-law passed away, I found some of her unfinished projects. It made me sad, and I determined to finish all of mine. I haven't stuck with it.
There, 25 things about me. I know I just tagged a bunch of people in another meme this week. I was tagged on this one, so I had to do it! I will try not to tag too many of you twice. If I do, I'm sorry!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pelosi on Contraception

From This Week on ABC yesterday, explaining why in this time of fiscal disaster the federal government must spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraception:

"The family planning services reduce cost," Pelosi said, "One of the elements of this package is assistance to the states. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Reduce costs by reducing people? Two examples to illustrate how this does not work:

  1. Europe - contracepting western civilization on that continent right out of existence. They are not even able to reproduce at replacement rate anymore.
  2. Social Security - the idea that many workers being taxed to pay for the retirement bliss of the few depends on there being more workers than retirees. We've known for at least a decade that we have a severe shortage of workers compared with retirees.
Less people equals a dying culture. Laying aside the issues of abortion and the sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony, economically speaking, less people means a smaller economy, smaller marketplace, smaller tax base.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reagan on Abortion

"I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born."

Ronald Reagan, quoted in New York Times, 22 September 1980

HT Lady in the Pew

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting to Know You: 2009 Edition

*Getting to Know You, 2009 Edition*
Completed on Thursday evening, January 22nd

1. What is your occupation right now? Housewife and homeschooling mom.
2. What color are your socks right now? Pink.
3. What are you listening to right now. My husband reading "Farmer Boy" to BamBam and Arch showering after his soccer game.
4. What is the last thing you ate? Viactiv.
5. Can you drive a stick shift? No. And there is a funny story about that....
6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Husband.
7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? I saw this on Dawn's blog. I've never met her, but I like what I've read.
8. How old are you today? 41
9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Baseball.
10. What is your favorite drink? Coca-Cola.
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? No.
12. Favorite food? Real NYC pizza. There is no substitute.
13. What is the last movie you watched? It's a Wonderful Life.
14. Favorite day of the year? Thanksgiving.
15. How do you vent anger? With sarcasm.
16. What was your favorite toy as a child? My toy dog, Toto. I carried him around in a basket just like Dorothy.
17. What is your favorite season? Autumn.
18. Cherries or Blueberries? Cherries.
19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Of course.
20. Who is the most likely to respond? They are all pretty good about replies.
21. Who is least likely to respond? Mary T., she never checks her email.
22. Living arrangements? We rent a duplex in a cute little city on the Erie Canal.
23. When was the last time you cried? Inauguration Day.
24. What is on the floor of your closet? Craft supplies.
25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? My sister.
26. What did you do last night? Watched Monk on DVD with my husband.
27. What are you most afraid of? Hell.
28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Cheese.
29. Favorite dog breed? Irish Wolf Hound.
30. Favorite day of the week? Sunday.
31. How many states have you lived in? One. NY, where else?
32. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.
33. What is your favorite flower? Black-eyed Susans.
34. Favorite Hobby? Reading.
35. Have you ever tried singing Karaoke? Yes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Inaugural Speech

Here are some quotes from the transcript of Obama's inaugural address today:

"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.


It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate."
Had I fallen off the turnip truck yesterday, I would have said, "Oh, good. He's pro-life."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Book Review: The Virtue Driven Life

Fr. Groeschel brings his wisdom to bear in an exposition of the seven main virtues of Christian life. Beginning with the four cardinal virtues (prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice), Groeschel explains their human characteristics, and how they can be elevated by grace to a supernatural level. For the three theological virtues (faith, hope and charity), he explains how they flow from God's grace. Examples from life pepper the text, making for clear examples and keeping the material interesting. A good introduction to the important virtues for anyone interested in the Catholic faith.

Friday, January 02, 2009

January's Book List

Books we will be delving into this coming month:

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