Monday, December 05, 2005

A Very Warillever Christmas

Originally uploaded by warillever.
I'll admit that it is not the prettiest tree ever, but it is something special. Mr. warillever cut it on Saturday evening, and the agents and I decorated it with bows that same evening. After six years with a 3-foot artificial, it feels nice to have a "real" tree in the house.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Still Grateful (Daily Magic #7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12)

The dearth of posts does not indicate a lack of magic in our lives; in fact I have not posted because we have been so busy enjoying family friends, and turkey. I am grateful for:

  • The smell of wood burning in pre-twilight silence.
  • Sunrise. Watching the line of sun move across our frosty lawn offers some compensation for the waking up at 4:30 with a teething agent.
  • The Dump. Going to the dump (or "transfer station" or "recycling center") is a New Hampshire institution. Very few towns have municipal trash service, and the majority of homeowners drop off their own trash and recyclable rather than contracting out for pick-up. The Agents and I go once per week. Agent 004 usually sleeps through the experience, but I let Agent 002 'help' toss pre-separated recyclable into the proper bins and heave garbage garbage bags into the compacting chasm.
  • Grampy Love. Nearly two weeks ago my father brought Agent 002 with him on a dump-run. My parents actually have roadside pick-up, but need to bring bulk items and yard waste directly to the transfer station. Agent 002 has talked about nothing since -- I have heard " Go see Grampy ride pick-up truck. Dump. Grampy throw sticks." Mind you, this kid goes to our dump with me each week, but going with Grampy, in a pick-up truck, was something extra-special.
  • Leftovers. The days after Thanksgiving are filled with turkey, turkey, and more turkey, and maybe some stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pies. Instead of being grateful for our bounty (which is, in fact, the meaning of the holiday), we whine about the monotony of leftovers. I am exasperated by complaints that are neither true nor justified. The first Thanksgiving leftovers (hopefully consumed on fresh rye bread or leftover dinner rolls before the food has even fully cooled) offer an opportunity for stress-free family bonding. After days of laboring over recipes, the leftover turkey sandwich takes no skills or planning to prepare. Whether served buffet style or straight from the refrigerator, the whole family can create their own turkey masterpieces. And then the open-faced turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie and turkey soup...... I am salivating before our breakfast of turkey omelets.....
  • Cousins. Who merit a post all their own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy 150th post!

How far we have come in seven short months........

Daily Magic #5 and #6

I am grateful for:

  • The internet which allows me to stay close with old friends, even when they are far away. I have received comments from four midwestern buddies in the past week, which means that at least that many have read my drivel.
  • In-Laws who are loving, giving and kind. I am a very lucky warillever indeed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pretty as pie

Pretty as pie
The pies are cooling and actually look quite tasty. I used the recipe in How to Cook Everything, and it was easy enough that I may try this again. Now if only I could get the kitchen cleaned and a suitcase packed quickly enough to get some sleep before Agent 004 wakes up.....

Fortunately Mr. warillever will be driving tomorrow night......

Monday, November 21, 2005

Irony alert

The spell checker embedded in Blogger does not recognize "blog" or "blogger" as words.

Daily Magic #4

I am grateful for:

  • Simple Technology: I may be the rare blogger in that I am not at all a gadget freak. I have no cell phone, flash player, or pda, and have little interest in acquiring any of those electronic tethers. I am, however, enamored with the baby monitor. This simple little radio allows me to do things like blog, read, or rake leaves without worrying about the children's well-being. In the twenty minutes that Agent 002's and Agent 004's naps overlap, I can almost pretend that I am in the house all alone..........

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Daily Magic #3

I am grateful for:

  • Living close to family. We spent the day at my sister M's house yesterday. Their woodshed collapsed after their winter's wood had been stacked last week, so I volunteered Mr. warillever as grunt labor for the day. M, Cousin F, Agent 002, and Agent 004, and I did some socializing inside the house while the guys worked. Sexism at its best.

Cooking for Two

Two Thanksgiving dinners, that is. I offered to bake breads for my mother, and got talked into baking a pie for the dinner we are attending (at y sister-in-law's house).

Did I mention that I have no idea how to make an apple pie? here I come!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Daily Magic #2

(to make up for the lack of an entry yesterday)

I am grateful for:

Daily Magic #1

I am grateful for:

  • morning kisses - as Mr. warillever leaves for work, he gives each member of the household a kiss. No matter how late he is running, he takes the time to honor "last time" requests for extra kisses from Agent 002, and even gives the cat a goodbye stroke. Yay for thoughtful Papas.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

JPII was grand. Benedict is homey.

The Anchoress has a beautiful post about Pope Benedict's surprisingly warm and approachable manner. The Anchoress ends her post with a fitting metaphor:

John Paul was a mighty pipe organ, dramatic, transcendent, soul-rattling -
almost overwhelming. He brought you to your knees, before God in hushed awe.
Benedict is a piano being played by a musician who plays for love of the music,
and he draws you into his sphere, to sing along in praise.

For all of the talk (from supporters and detractors alike) about the Rottweiller that would close the cafeteria, Pope Benedict has proven to be pastoral and inspiring

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Awful Beautiful Life

I listen to music that speaks to me. I have been on a classical kick lately, and just "rediscovered" the power of Mozart. My guilty pleasure, however, is pop-country. One song struck a chord with me today -- Darryl Worley's "Awful Beautiful Life"

I woke up early with a poundin' in my head
I'd been out the night before with all my friends
A little worried, kinda wonderin' what I did
I said, " Lord, please forgive me for my sins."
My wife wanted to kill me, but she tried to save me first
"You're goin' if I have to drag your butt to church."

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

I read the hymns and kinda sorta sang along
And made it through the Sunday sermon wide awake
We met the family for dinner at our home
Drank some beer, watched a game, and cooked some steaks
My little brother had a big fight with his wife
And my poor mother sat between'em both all night

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

We said a prayer for Cousin Michael in Iraq
We're all aware that he may never make it back
We talked about the way we missed his stupid jokes
And how he loved to be a soldier more than most

I laid in bed that night and thought about the day
And how my life is like a roller coaster ride
The ups and downs and crazy turns along the way
It'll throw you off if you don't hold on tight
You can't really smile until you've shed some tears
I could die today or I might live on for years

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

It's a beautiful life
Awful, beautiful, life
I love this life
It's a beautiful life

Ain't that the truth? Our circumstances are all different, but I bet that we could all describe our lives as "crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic" lives. The trick is to remind ourselves to appreciate the magic in our daily lives.

In this week leading up to Thanksgiving, I will institute a daily feature where I recognize at least one of these magic moments.

Our even smaller artist

Fall Symphony
Originally uploaded by warillever.
Agent 004's first painting. There was as much paint on her pants as on the paper, but her smile made the cleanup worth it.

Our little artist

Masterpiece #1
Originally uploaded by warillever.
Watercolor on paper, created October 2005 by Agent 002

Tired spirals

I am used to being busy. As a college student I balanced a job, activities, and a varsity sport along with classes. After graduation I worked eighty hour weeks as a teacher, regularly waking at 4 am to get papers graded. I then earned a masters degree while working full time.

But being a stay-at-home parent is different. I am not over-scheduled like I was as a student athlete, or drowning in paperwork as I was as a teacher. Except when one of the children is sick, I am not pulling the "all-nighters" that I did in graduate school. Overscheduling, lack of sleep, and balancing work and school made me very tired (see this post for verification of my energy level last spring).

I am not as physically tired as I was then. I am sleeping a solid six or seven hours per night, eating well, and getting exercise. I do have momentary spells of psychic tiredness however. When Agent 002 ignores my third call to "be gentle" with the cat, when Agent 004 wiggles into her own poop during a diaper change, or when the two agents whine simultaneously. I am ashamed to admit that once in a while, I am even get tired of Agent 004 clinging to my leg.

When I am tired, I am impatient. And when I get impatient, the spiral begins. Agent 002 misbehaves and Agent 004 cries for attention. Which makes me more tired. Which makes him act up and her grumpy. Which make me more tired........

I have noticed that the spiral usually begins with me, and have gotten much better at preventing it. But even I do not have the energy to be on all the time..... fortunately my parents' house is a short drive away.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Our woodsman

Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
My children may be Russian-born, but they proved theselves real New Englanders on Saturday. After two days of below-freezing weather, it was time to stack the firewood in the shed behind the house. Agent 002 started the work himself, bringing the logs over one-by-one. Then "Grampy" (my father) arrived with a trailer to tow behind our lawn tractor. My brother arrived an hour later with a pickup, and the job was nearly done before the rain started back up. It has not yet hit 50 degrees outside today, but our house is warm and cozy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Good morning, sunshine!

Sunny yard
The recent upsurge in blogging has been due, in part, to the cabin fever from two weeks of constant rain. I did not feel comfortable complaining about not playing oudoors when there are seven dead and dozens of newly homeless within fifty miles of us. Many of our near neighbors (including my parents and sister) have had water come in through their roofs and basements. I thank God for the reprieve we got this weekend (3 inches of rain instead of a possible 6), and I am VERY grateful for the small ray of sunlight in my backyard this morning.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm a happy girl today

Lyrics of the day

If I’m a happy man today, I don’t know about tomorrow,
Will I be in ecstasy or deep in debt and sorrow,
There’s a pint upon the table, there’s another on the way
And with the girl beside me, I’m a happy man today.

There are some who rush about in a panic and a hurry,
While others lie in bed on their backs and worry,
And with all that care and worry,bolted doors and locked-up locks,
We’ll all end up in safety pushing daisies in a box.


I suppose that there are those whose life is only roses,
And they only have to pluck to hold them to their noses
And there’s others on the slag heap,and if they search and pray,
There’s a chip of glass might glisten like a diamond in the day.

Now I don’t have all the answers,and I don’t have all the questions
And the worries of the world be solved by my suggestions.
But this is one suggestion,that you raise your glass and say,
I don’t know about tomorrow, I’m a happy man today.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Running up the ratings

It seems that all of the random hits on my blog come to the posts on Notre Dame football. I was flattered to notice that a search for Charlie Weis on MSN brought me to the top of the list, then noticed that the searcher and I both mistyped his name.... or maybe the searcher was really looking for Charile, and was disappointed to find a football post.....

I've had a couple of other things going one this fall, so I have not been writing much about football. I have not, however, stopped watching the games. Despite our lack of television reception, we have managed to catch at least a piece of the game online or by mooching off of friends and family who live in civilization.

I am cautiously optimistic about the USC game. I am not delusional enough to consider ND a favorite, but I do agree with Pete at Blue-Gray Sky that "USC should win this football game, but Notre Dame definitely could." That is exactly what Notre Dame has been missing for most of the last decade -- the swagger, the hope, the faith that they will be able to pull off the impossible.

I am not an alum. I was paid for my affiliation with Notre Dame. But I love thee Notre Dame, and I am very roud to be a fan. (And the Gerry Faust interview at Catholic Report doesn't hurt my opinion at all [HT: Annunciations].)

Go Irish -- beat Trojans!

Update (10/15 10pm): After that heartbreak of a loss, I am still wth you Pete -- I've never been prouder to be a Notre Dame fan.

Ya igrai-oo ya -- I am playing, I am

I am starting to learn that letting the kids play without intervention is not neglect. In fact, it may actually be good for their development. Or at least for my sanity.....

Currently, Agent 004 is sitting on the kitchen floor with a toy train while Agent 002 rolls blocks down the hallway. He "borrows" the train every few minutes, but Agent 004 doesn't seem to mind, so I am letting it go.

No matter what he is doing, Agent 002 will give me an update whenever he sees me. The most common are "Ya igrai-yoo ya" (I am playing, I am) and "Ya byegai-yoo" (I am running). I am not sure if he just wants to chat, or if he thinks that I am blind.

Agent 004 is trying out her laughing voice. She has a very squeaky voice, but her newest laugh is deep and full. A lot like 002's in fact......

Did I mention that Agent 002 is a three-year old baritone? With 004's soprano, we may have an interesting ensemble some day.

Enough neglect for one morning. I am going to put in some playing time now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Does this make me a moderate?

You are a

Social Conservative
(36% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(36% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Does anyone find it significant that I am in the same quadrent as Pope John Paul II and Joseph Stalin?

Friday, September 30, 2005

No commie coffee for me please

A Zogby poll shows that liberals, progressives, and urbanites prefer Starbucks to Dunkin Donuts, while Dunkin Donuts is more popular among senior citizens, rural Americans, and those on the East coast.

I'll keep drinking the official coffee of the world-series-champion Red Sox, thank you.
[who are coincidentally up 5-3 over the "Evil Empire"in the bottom of the 7th]

HT: Catholic Light

Meow, meatballs, and other firsts

Agent 004's first English word was "Mama."

Okay, that is a Russian word too, but she really does know what it means. She says just those two syllables, then giggles whenever I kiss her belly during a diaper change. I may be deluding myself, but as a first-time mother I have that right and I am going with it. The kid knows my name, and I eat it up.

Her second word was funnier. That was "meow." Not meow pronounced like a person reading the written word, but an exact copy of Janice's incessant cry. You honestly need to look to see which four-legged creature the sound came from. Sometimes, they converse back and forth in indistinguishable screaches. I am not sure if either has figured out that they belong to different species.

Now for those that know me, Agent 004's first sample of table food will really shock you -- she ate four entire (but diced) meatballs from last night's spaghetti and meatball dinners at Grammy's house. The near-vegetarian mother and her carnivore daughter. She has since eaten toast, a carrot chunk, and fork-mashed peas. Now that is a girl after my own heart!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The calm after the storm

This is not a post about hurricanes. I have nothing meaningful to add to the discussion of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina other than to wish some mercy on the people of the Gulf Coast for the remainder of the hurricane season.

The post is about real life. My real life. My real life with a husband and two kids in a suburban farmhouse in New England. A real life in which my job is to watch out for the well-being of two small but independent beings who call me Mama.

After three years of wishing for children and working towards their adoption, after two years of heartbreak and delay, after a summer of frantic transitions -- they are finally here and finally "real".

Even the first few weeks weren't "real;" it felt like a movie plot that we were acting in. We went from no children to one child to two children and from apartment guests to hotel residents to family visits to home with everything a blur. Those first few weeks were about getting by, not about "living."

Life is still chaotic, but it is now the chaos of everyday life. It is the screams of stolen toys and sleepy wimpers, of spilled lunch and bumps and bruises. I am coming to terms with this as my reality. I am overstretched,exhausted, and sometimes frustrated, but extremely content. This is my reality, and I love it.

Update: to highlight the chaos that I call my life, note that this post was written last Saturday, but saved as a draft because I was distracted by a small person's whimper. Sorry about not publishing it sooner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuning out, Tuning in, Starting over

As any new stay-at-home parent well knows, it is very hard to get a moment alone to read a newspaper, watch the news, or check blogs. You don't even have the "luxury" of a commute to work in which you can listen to the radio uninterupted.

Anyone who reads this blog understands that I am a bit of a news freak, so it was a major blow to be so out of the loop.

Last night was my first attempt to read blogs since May. I had over 7000 unread posts accumulated in my RSS aggregator. I tried to skim, I tried to prioritize, and then I just decided to start over.

Note to friends virtual and real -- if you have posted anything in the past three months, I probably haven't read it. Sorry. But in order to move on, I have marked all as read.

...And I think that I will be cutting back on some of the 129 feeds.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Mama warillever is still floating on cloud nine, but unfortunately, much of that "floating" feeling is the result of the cold medication I just took.

Just as everyone had started to adjust to the new home and new time zone, the head cold from #### struck with a vengeance. Mr. Warillever began his new job yesterday with a packet of tissues in each pocket; Agent 004 has the worst combination of booger and teething drool that you can imagine. Agent 002 looks to be the best off -- other than a slight cough, he is the same as usual. Of course, we might all be better off if a cold would sap some of his energy........

Friday, August 26, 2005

Naptime Bliss

I love my children -- they are wonderful in every way.

I love watching them experience new things and love watching them recognize old pleasures. Agent 002's pure enjoyment of his first potato chip at lunch today was just precious.

I even love their tantrums, because it gives me a glimpse into who they really are and what they really want.

Seeing Agent 004's exhileration as she stood on her own last night was great -- seeing her do it twice this morning was incredible.

But naptime is my time. Now that they are (finally) napping at the same time, I am able to get a few things accomplished, and have a cup of tea. JOY!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Girls' Morning Out

In response to "Guys' Night Out" (in which my husband and son go out for ice cream while I get the baby fed, bathed and to sleep), comes "Girls' Morning Out." This is when the girls (Agent 004 and I) go for a walk while the guys (Papa and Agent 002) sleep in. Have you noticed that the guys get the sweet end of both of these events?

Both of these rituals are the result of four people with very different schedules living in one 100 square foot room. The children have been surprisingly good about the lack of space; Agent 004 has a managable amount of space to scoot, crawl, and pull herself about; Agent 002 has just enough room to play his favorite game -- throwing all of his blocks under the furnniture and then retrieving them with a plastic rake. The obvious difficulty is that the children have vastly different sleep schedules and constantly wake each other up. Thus I am at the internet cafe with Agent 004 sleeping in her stroller as Agent 002 should awake very soon from his middday nap. Hopefully with the change in time zones we will be able to adjust their afternoon naps to coincide......

Have I mentioned yet that this parenthood thing rocks? Even a full month in, I am still loving it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Two weeks as a parent.......

Russia 5:24pm
Having just started my third week as a parent, I am beginning to laugh at the folly of my ways in the first days. Some rules for those who are starting out :
  1. Never, ever, put orange juice in a sippy cup.
  2. Do not say the word "cookie" when you have none one hand, even if your son did not know any English a week ago.
  3. Toys should never come within a hundred meter radius of a toilet.
  4. When booking a hotel, make sure there will be screens on the windows, especially if you will be on the 21st floor.
  5. When a toddler says that he needs to go "pee-pee," do not hold him up against your own chest to get him there faster.
  6. Two parents are easier than one. Three would be better.

So far so good. Our family of three is getting along very well. We will see how things work out when we add a fourth family member in a week..........

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Light posting (again)

12:18 Moscow
I will probably not be able to post much next week, if at all. Being alone with Agent 002, I don't think that spending an hour in an internet cafe in the middle of a shopping mall is the wisest idea.
If things work out that Mr. Warillever comes to Russia soon, then I may be able to resume posting on a limited basis. For those trying to follow our flight plans from home, if a court date for Agent 004 is scheduled for anytime soon, Mr. Warillever will join Agent 002 and I in Russia as soon as he can. I Agent 004's court date is delayed, Agent 002 and I will fly home, and we will all return to Russia whenever Agent 004 is ready.
All of this hinges on whether or not our case is fit in before the judge's vacation. There is only one judge in Agent 002's region, and that one judge has a six week vacation scheduled from mid-August through October. So she will be with us soon, or not for a while.

Friday, July 22, 2005

All that I have missed!

Moscow 15:26

I went most of the summer without internet -- we had just moved and were spending time in Russia -- so I stopped reading news and blogs. What I missed --

It looks like good news all around.

Getting excited

I should know better, but I am beginning to get excited. Unless something goes awry today, Agent 002 will be released to my custody on Monday. As in, on Monday, he will officially, legally, and completely be a Warillever. My son. Our son.

I went shopping -- I bought him slippers (Russians do not where shoes in their homes) and a few toys. Nothing major mind you -- I am a little strapped for cash and I know that I will need to lug this all home -- but I bought him his very own sandbox shovel, a plastic dumptruck, and a small car. I really wanted to get him a Tonka truck, but thought better of it.

Did I mention that he is obsessed with cars? And that he will be our son on Monday?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Residential Skyline

Residential Skyline
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
...and a different view of Moscow.

Beautiful Moscow

Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.


Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
Even the cats are tired in Moscow.

There seems to be a national sleep-crisis, where the only place people sleep is on park benches or in the metro.

So much to say

If we did this again, I would bring a laptop with me.

I have several blog posts written out longhand which I have not had time at a computer to post. With my limited online time, precededence goes to communication with my husband and with my adoption agency. Sorry.

Here are some titles of the posts that are written or in process: "The joy of cooking," "An opportunity for identity theft," "Ruskii Bwit," "Where happy meets sad,"The (comparative) cost of living," "Moscvichii," and "People on the metro."

Most blog thoughts come to me during the 90 minute commute to Agent 002's baby home, and then flit away as I spend the next two hours playing with him. The trick is to write them down at lunchtime.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Oh Beautiful Night

Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
It does actually get dark in Moscow in the summer. Very late at night, that is. When I first got here, it was only dark from midnight to 4am. It is now 10:30 to 5 or so.

Bird Stalker

Russian Pigeon
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
I have been stalking birds here too. I will have lots of pictures like this o share when I return.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Agent 002 talks

13:38 Moscow
Some of you have asked (with unnecessary embaressment) whether Agent 002 speaks English or Russian.

He does, in fact, speak Russian, although he is quickly learning English. His vocabulary now includes:

  • car
  • bye-bye
  • no
  • fly (applied to all insects, just as he calls all insects 'mooka' in Russian)
  • God bless you

That last one cracks me up. He appears to be allergic to pollen, and was sneezing like mad this morning. I said "God bless you" after each sneeze, and soon he was pretending to sneeze so that I would say it again. When I fake-sneezed, he pronounced (with no discernable accent) "God bless you" to me. Neat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Alone again (but healthy)

13:07 Moscow

Mr. Warillever is enroute to the United States again. Someone has to take care of the cat, you know. And prepare the house, which is still in a state of complete disarray. And study for the bar of course. He is very nervous about the bar; he claims to be very distracted from his studies. Not sure why.

His distraction is not the result of poor health; we were both tested for AIDS, syphillis, hepatitis and somthing else this morning. My Russian is not good enough to understand technical terms. The judge in Agent 004's case requires these tests, and I would not have time to have it done in the US before her proceeding. Mr. Warillever had his done with me for moral support (and so that he would not have to deal with the logistics of scheduling it once he gets home. Something about being very busy).

So here I am, alone in Moscow. I have the middle of the day free while Agent 002 and his compatriots nap; I spend the morning and afternoon with him. The poor little guy is getting very impatient to leave the home -- he cried as we left the past few days. I know that I can't let his crying get me down, but it breaks my heart. I cry too as soon as I leave the orphanage gate. At least I have a long walk to clean myself up before I get to the Metro.

And the Verdict is?

12:53pm Moscow
....that Agent 002 is our son.

Mr. Warillever and I went to court yesterday to officially petition to adopt Agent 002. The proceeding was more intensive than our translator had expected, but nonetheless went very smoothly. I knew that we had everything in order, that we would have already known if there was a major problem with our petition, but I was still shaking. I stopped breathing when the judge left the bench to "consider" her decision. I have no idea how long she was gone -- 30 seconds, 10 minutes, or an hour -- but when she came back she read a declaration announcing that she approved our petition.

Of course, it is not yet over. All MosGorSud (Moscow City Court) decisions have a ten-business-day period in which the decision can be appealed. During this time the little Agent will stay at the Baby Home. There is no reason to think that anyone would appeal the decision, but there is still a bit of nailbiting going on on my end.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

My backpack, My life

11am Moscow time
front pocket

  • half-eaten roll of Smarties
  • map of Moscow
  • small notebook for jotting addresses, directions, and mass times
  • open package of Halls' lozenges
  • 3 pens
  • 2 pencils
  • passport with visa and registration card
  • travel pack of baby wipes
  • 2 tampons

middle pocket

  • Moscow guidebook in which to keep dollar bills flat
  • camera bag holding camera and extra battery. Apartment keys clipped to bag.
  • plastic bag with lunch enclosed -- cheese sandwich and tomato.
  • Book -- Reading Rooms (which I would highly recommend to thsoe librarian types out there)
  • USB cord

back pocket

  • notebook for writing details of day, keping talley of expenses, and for drafting email messages and blog entries (This entry was written on Manezh Square, sitting next to te\he Lennon impersonator who charges 150 rubles to have your picture taken with him. He currently has no customers, so he is feeding the pigeons and chatting with Karl Marx adn Tsar Nicholas I) -- note: I left this area when the Tsar started hitting on me.
  • blue folder with official documents such as power of attorney for husband
  • purple folder of info including agency fee agreeements, the Agents' growth charts, and lists of questions and phone numbers
  • brown cardigan

side pocket

  • Nestle water bottle refilled with water boiled in tea kettle last night

Friday, July 08, 2005

Double agent

Double agent
Originally uploaded by warillever.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Agent 004 on the scene

Agent 004 is quite the charmer. I spent 5 hourse with her yesterday, and other than a shriek when her hat was put on, she did not cry. She did smile, laugh, and babble a bit. She is frightenly mobile -- she crawls and "table walks,"** but she was also quite happy nestled in my arms.

There are eight babies in her group -- 2 boys and six girls. All are the same age. One of the others (Code Name: Shamrock) will be adopted at the same time by a family from Ireland. Agent 004 and CN Shamrock are only days apart in age. I exchanged addresses with her future parents so that Agent 004 can keep in touch with someone from her former life.

It was hard to say goodbye, but like Agent 002, she is in good hands at the baby home. teh staff are sad to see the babies leave, but are genuinely happy to see them get families.

** I think the term is generally "couch walking" -- i.e. walking while grasping onto a piece of furniture. We use what we've got.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live from Moscow!

15:47 Moscow time

As my life gets more exciting, I post less and less.... The last six weeks have been a whirlwind -- I graduated from library school, my husband graduated from law school, we moved halfway accross the country, we bought a house, we sold a house ( that order), we spent a week in Russia to meet one child (Agent 002), we unpacked our house, and now I am back in Russia to meet a second child (Agent 004) and to complete the adoption of Agent 002.

I visited Agent 002 today. He was very happy to see me. We go to court to adopt him next Tuesday, and then he and I will stay in Moscow for three weeks to complete paperwork. I brought him a photoalbum today, and he really liked it. He showed it off to his caretakers and friends -- "Look -- this is my house. Look -- this is my cat!" (In Russian, of course).

I meet with Agent 004 tomorrow. I am not as nervous as I was when I met 002, because she is too young to dislike me. I have never been to the city she lives in before, so that should be an adventure all its own. Tula is located about two hours south of Moscow. We will spend the day there, returning late tomorrow night.

Next time I post I will try to bring landscape pictures for show and tell. Sorry, I can't post pictures of Agents 002 and 004 until they are totally and completely legally mine. I am checking email every few days, but may not have time to respond to everything, because I am paying by the minute for service.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Why can't anything be simple?

We have had an incredibly exhilarating week. Do not let anything in the next few paragraphs make you forget that we are incredibly happy about the way things are working out. We are new homeowners and we are travelling to Russia next week to meet our future son.

Now for the whining.

The plan for the week was as follows:

  • Sunday -- graduation.
  • Monday -- pack moving truck.
  • Tuesday -- closing on sale of old house, drive moving truck to New Hampshire.
  • Wednesday -- do some errands.
  • Thursday -- final walkthrough of new house, simultaneous homestudy.
  • Friday -- close on new house, move in.

Some of these things (namely those on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday) happened. But the old house did not close on Tuesday. Then (after repeated reassurances and a few lies from a number of sources), it did not close on Wednesday or Thursday. We did not have final word until late Thursday. After much nailbiting, it closed this morning, and we were able to close on the new house just afterwards. But wait -- the paperwork never actually came through! Technically we are inhabiting a house owned by someone else. Not as if the former/current owner cares -- he has already been paid. But we have a moving truck in the driveway of a house we live in but don't yet legally own.

So why do I have the time to blog? Because I was tasked with handling adoption paperwork, but have been forgetting paperwork at whichever house I am not currently at. I need to have our visa applications overnighted by 5pm in order to have permission to enter Russia. I am at my parents' house because I forgot our visa applications here. I am waiting here because I forgot our passports (which need to be shipped to the Russian consulate) at the new house. My father is enroute with the passports and photos.

After eighteen moths of waiting and waiting, we got nine days notice to travel. Plane tickets have been purchased. Obnoxiously expensive hotel room booked for one night. Will work on finding a better option for the other days. Must get visa within next few days.

But we get to meet him! And then we will go back in a few short (!?!) weeks to adopt him. And all is good. All is very good.

For those who asked, the cat is recovering well from her motion sickness. She will be staying with my parents for a couple of weeks as we have doors open for moving boxes in and as we travel to Russia. She really seems to like it here. She likes the neighbors. She likes my dad. She likes the fluffy rugs. She likes the cozy nook on the desk. She may not want to move back in with us when the time comes.....

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

First New Hampshire post

We just arrived at my parents' house. Other than one vomiting incident, the trip was uneventful. More words and pictures soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Love thee Notre Dame

Notre Dame, our Mother
Tender, strong and true
Proudly in the heavens,
Gleams thy gold and blue.
Glory's mantle cloaks thee
Golden is thy fame,
And our hearts forever,
Praise thee, Notre Dame.
And our hearts forever,
Love thee, Notre Dame.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Not a linker or a thinker, but a reader

My name is reprehriestless warillever and I am a reader. I read books, I read newspapers, I read magazines, and I read blogs. I also read cereal boxes, beer cans, grocery receipts, and road signs. I will read any words that come in front of my eyes. And I remember everything that I read.

Unfortunately this affinity for reading has not resulted in a talent for writing. Although I am proficient at academic prose, I have yet to find my voice in this less formal medium.

The greatest challenge is that this blog has no direction. I am not trying to prove anything. I have no news to tell, no axe to grind, and no position to defend. For good or for bad, it is neither a personal diary nor a political soapbox. It is not angry, prayerful, or even insightful. Consider it a semi-daily reflection on the world around me.

I hope that my friends are getting to know me in ways that they never would have. For the strangers, I hope that I have given you a window into a world you hadn't seen before.

My in-laws just arrived. I'll be back to you soon!

Upstaged by a monster

Grover has been updating his photo blog. He went to Grand Rapids with us on Wednesday, and wanted to let you all know about it.

Show off.

Flickr RSS2 feed Atom

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I love Indiana

County Line Landfill
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
...for the landforms!

Isn't this the cheerist little landfill you have ever seen? It is the only hill between South Bend and Indianapolis, and it sure is cute. If it weren't for the overpowering smell of garbage, it would be a perfect picnic spot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I love South Bend

Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
...and so does this hydrant!

We are busy packing and enertaining guests this week, so I will not be posting much. I do have a series of duck stalking pictures that I will post soon, though.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Interview (Part 3 of 5)

If you could take a trip anywhere, where would you go?

I would drop everything at a moment's notice to meet our children in Russia. I have a packing list prepared for each person and could be ready in minutes flat.

That's kinda the answer to another question, though.

I have several adventures in mind, including a hike of the entire Appalachian Trail and the Western Way in Ireland. I'm also a big fan of car trips -- some of my greatest memories are from a cross-country trip with my husband the summer after we graduated from college. We'd like to drive through the Canadian Maritimes and accross the southern part of the US.

The only fru-fru coice on my list? Going to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl Parade. I wouldn't even have to see the game, although I might be convinced to go if say it was the BCS championship and Notre Dame was playing.....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Interview (Part 2 of 5)

What scares you most about moving to the East Coast?

Moving itself! Moving stinks. We'll spend days packing all of our stuff into boxes, attempting to do so in an organized fashion so that nothing gets lost. We'll have everything boxed up, labeled well, and lugged out to the moving truck. As we leave, we will do one last run-through of the house. Someone will notice that no one emptied the lower drawer in the bathroom. There will be no boxes left, and that stuff will be tossed into a garbage bag, and that bag will be thrown behind the passenger's seat of the car. It will be weeks before that bag makes it into the new house. By that time, I will have bought myself three new scrunchies to sleep in, because we have no idea where they got packed.

Even though the East Coast is home, there will be some culture shock. That is worrisome. But we'll deal.


Originally uploaded by warillever.

Interview (Part 1 of 5)

What excites me most about moving to the East Coast?

Meeting my new niece. She is only eleven days old and even over the phone I can tell that she is a character. I want to see my oldest sister, the person who basically raised me, with her daughter. I want to drink tea with my mother, and hang out in the garage with my brothers.

I want to see landforms. I want to go for a walk where the scenery changes when I round a bend. I want to go for a run where my legs burn from going uphill for 20 minutes. I want a bikeride where I don't have to pedal because gravity carries me down the hill. I want to go up to my ankles in a rapidly rushing stream. I want to go to teh top of a hill and look out over miles and miles of trees.

Getting a decent cup of coffee that doesn't cost $3.

Having a meal with family that doesn't take three weeks to plan. Going to baptisms and first communions and birthday parties without killing half of my vacation allotment.

Working on our new house. Planning a garden from scratch. Setting up the home library. Decorating the kiddos' rooms.

Being home.

The Good Stuff

A friend recently noted in her online journal that she is "poised on the edge of events that I think I've been waiting my entire life to experience." Her post is anxious, but full of life. She is excited to be at the place she is in life, on the cusp of major change, but ready for it. I really respect her for being so excited, so "overwhelmed by emotion" by all of the stuff going on around her.

In short, I think that she gets it. That she understands what is worth worrying about. She is looking for (and may have found) the GOOD STUFF.

The GOOD STUFF, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, are those things that really matter, like

the sight of her holdin’ my baby girl.
The way she adored that string of pearls,
I gave her the day that our youngest boy, earl,
Married his high school love.
An’ it’s a new tee-shirt saying: ’I’m a grandpa’.
Bein’ right there as our time got small,
An’ holdin’ her hand, when the good lord called her up,
Yeah, man, that’s the good stuff.
These are, of course, lyrics from a country song. The Good Stuff by Kenny Chesney. The song is about a newlywed in the middle of his first major fight with his wife. He goes to a bar, asks for the "good stuff," and the elderly barkeeper explains that a bar is not the place to find "the good stuff;" that is at home.

I am convinced that the secret of life is fully explicated in country music lyrics.

We are always on the cusp of something. The trick is to remember what is worth worrying about.

What a boring life!

I am not complaining. In fact, I am joyous about this. There is no horror, no comedy, no drama. Just a set of tasks with deadlines. I can handle that!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This says a lot

Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
This is a tagmap of the pictures I have in this Flickr account. Telling.

Smart Cat

Learned Cat
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.

Cute Couple

Cute Couple
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.

The Odd Threesome

The Odd Threesome
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.

I love myself!

This is darned entertaining -- check out the "I love myself" version of this page.

And you can make your own Malkovich Mediator.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Study types

Barely Legal is blogging about the people you meet during exams. Working in a library and being a perpetual student myself, I see these people everyday. Most of those here are Braggarts, but I meet my share of Possums too.

Braggrats are those who pride themselves on working the hardest, and need to tell everyone about it. Like this conversation:

Braggart A: "I'm exhausted, I've been here for eight hours."

Braggart B: "Really? I've been here for ten and I'm just getting started."

Braggart A: "Well, I just finished my Tax outline. It's 60 pages long."

Braggart B: "60? Is that all? Mine is 75, and I finished a week ago. But I'm sure you'll still pass."

Braggart B has won. He is the new Alpha of the bragging nerds. Braggart A must retreat back to his cubicle to see if he can lengthen that tax outline at all.

Possums are the real sneaky ones. They claim to be clueless, but they really have it nailed.
In reality, she is fully confident in her ability to succeed on her exams. Her "playing dumb" is just a smokescreen to hide the many hours she spends perfecting her outlines and memorizing the UCC. Of course, the following semester, when she learns that she got a 3.7, she acts genuinely surprised, as if it were some fluke.

At the end of the day, I like to have The Possum around. She is sort of like a stripper: She makes you feel better about yourself, even though you know she is lying.
In reality, they are probably just fishing for a compliment or for a copy of your notes. Or they are really uncreative when it comes to pick-up lines....

Not yet a saint

...but Pope John Paul II will have a school named after him.

St. Peter and All Hallows elementary schools in Sacramento will merge next year. Students at both schools were asked what they want the new school to be named. They chose John Paul II Elementary School. [read the article here. via Curt Jester]

The Rome Depot

Click the pic for Curt Jester's "Ultimate in Rome Improvement"

On the power of art

Chiesa has an article about "what really happened at the conclave." What hit me was the power of Michelangelo's frescoes. How does it feel to have the weight of choosing the sucessor to St. Peter while looking straight at "The Judgement?"

The Pope's right hand

The Pope's right hand...... woman? Didn't the press say that this guy was anti-woman? According to this article, Pope Benedict's chief advisor is Ingrid Stampa. Their relationship is compared to Karen Hughes' with President Bush.

HT: Zadok the Roman

Where are you, Refman?

I wrote a post about washing my underwear.
I scheduled your life without asking.
And you did not comment at all.

I am beginning to think that you don't care.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I have not abandonded you

...but I have had little time for blogging over the past week. It looks like this week will be just as busy.

Despite my most valiant efforts, the image search essay is still not done, and we have yet to start formal planning for the presentation on Friday. Ialso still have to revise, reformat, and polish an essay on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, as well as get permission to use images in it, if I can figure out where those images actually came from.

I am down to 4.5 days of work, and am expected to accomplish as much as I normally do in a month.

Additionally, it is still not clear whether or not our house will actually be sold when we need it to be. This means lots of frantic phone calls with real estate agents, mortgage people, insurance people, utilities, and others. And we need to buy a washing machine in the next 15 days. Oh. And packing. And lots of silly ceremonies. And a ton of visiting family.

This is not a stressed post; in fact I think that we are handling quite well. The post is just to explain why you haven't seen me around the blogosphere very much.

And I have a plan.
  • hand wash "necessaries"
  • cook for the week (no shopping required)
    • two nights pork-n-rice
    • two nights salmon casserole
    • one night leftover Chinese food (cook more rice)
  • proof-read image retrieval essay & submit
  • clean house for appraisal
    • clean bathrooms
    • swiffer all wood floors
    • dust
    • tidy study
    • mop tile floors
  • go to work
  • reformat citations in FASD article
  • write my section of lesson plan
  • go to work
  • revise FASD article
  • update dated sections of FASD article
  • make up props for lesson plan
  • go to work early for farewell lunch
Last day of work!!!!!
  • rehearse lesson plan (depending on partner's sechedule)
  • revise lesson plan as needed
  • go to work
  • further revisions to lesson plan
Last day of school!!!!!
I apologize for the excruciatingly boring post, but I figure that if I tell y'all about it, then I'll have to do it as stated. Procrastination would then be failing y'all. If you see me online, question my progress, because I need to get all of this done in the non-work hours of the next 6 days.

Then I can enjoy my one remaining week in the 'Bend.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Slow Blogging Ahead

I am taking a brief hiatus from blogging while I finish up some stuff. Schoolwork is progressing quite well (my image retrieval paper is halfway done and our lesson plan has been outlined), but work will be very busy for the next week and there is all of that moving stuff to do.

I hope you don't miss me too much ;)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The countdown

I apologize for the lack of posts, but there is a lot going on.

What I have left to do:

  • 20 days in this house
  • 7 days of work
  • 3 classes
  • 1 20-page paper
  • 1 presentation
  • 2 articles to edit
  • copyright to obtain
  • 1 house to pack, with
    • 29 boxes of books, plus those we have acquired in the past 3 years
    • 1 broken clothes washer
    • assorted living room and dining room furniture
    • a cat who hates to travel
Lists always make me feel better. Ahhhhhh.

Monday, April 25, 2005

New on my blogroll

If you thought that I had a lot of Pope pictures on my blog......check out The Commonplace Book of Zadok the Roman

Be not afraid

And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.

Full text of Pope Benedict's homily from the installation mass here.

Pope prayed not to be elected

As reported in these news stories being linked to everywhere, Pope Benedict prayed that he would not be elected pope. He viewed the idea of being elected pope as a "guillotine," and he prayed that he would be spared selection. An interesting image, that.

He is admitting all of his failings today -- when he arrived late for a meeting with German pilgrims, he said, ""Germans are used to punctuality. I'm already very Italian."

Charlie I speaks

Notre Dame football coach Charile Weis was on Live this morning with Regis and Kelly. I was impressed with his poise in this type of environment. He answered all of the questions well, including Kelly'squestion about academic standards.

Yes, Notre Dame has tough admissions criteria, but that means that he has smarter players. And smarter players coached well are better players. Academic standards do not hurt Notre Dame.

He did not promise anything except that his players will always be prepared.

He compared coaching at the high school, college, and professional levels. As a championship coach at two of those levels (one Jersey state high school championship and four Super Bowl rings), he knows how to win. Now we just have to see if Notre Dame remembers how to win.

Yes, I watch Live. And yes, I planned my chores this morning so that I would be near the television for his interview. And yes, I am annoyed that I have been at Notre Dame while the New England Patriots have been the dominant force in professional football, and I'll be in New England as Notre Dame returns to dominance.

Go Irish!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

One more thing to like

The Pope loves cats.

And the NYT says that he drinks a lot of lemonade.

In other words, the more human side of the Pope is beginning to come out. A couple who he married last summer comments that he is personable and pastoral.

And it looks like most of us have missed the obvious -- the Pope's birthday is the feast day of St. Benedict Joseph Labre. I'll post more on this saint later when I find out more about him. I find it very interesting that his baptismal name and reign name come from the same saint.

Yet another Pope picture

I know this is overkill, but this one made me laugh so much.

Caption:"there's no place like rome, there's no place like rome"
[HT: Summa Mamas]

Richard Lawrence Cohen is getting signs from God

...or maybe from the Devil.

For a moment he was conviced that God was telling him to post pictures on his blog. Then, having saved himself through human reason, he realizes that it must have been Satan himself that had been telling him.

A brilliant post from one of the most interesting blogs out there. It really is worth a read.

Pet Diaries

A day in the life of a dog and a cat. [via Yippe-Ki-Yay!]

I'm winning!

Thus far, I'm in the lead for the "What is the Pope thinking" contest at Space Station K9.

He is still accepting entries..... I know that y'all can do better than that!

A winter's walk in April

Snow Duck
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
I took more pictures on campus this morning. The tulip trees were covered in a beautiful layer of snow.

The ducks and geese didn't seem to mind though.

We have the best friends in the world

Shower Baloons
Originally uploaded by Reprehriestless.
A bunch of our friends threw a shower for us yesterday. It was unexpected and wonderful.

I would say that our wonderful friends are another thing I'll miss when we move, but we'd lose them even if we were staying. All of 'em (even the locals) are also moving on this spring or summer.

Sinners unhappy with new pope

In a headline from the Grand Forks Herald. [via Best of the Web]

Saturday, April 23, 2005

"Let's see Pope Benedict XVI draw up the perfect play on thrd-and-long"

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has assumed the most important position in the Roman Catholic Church, attention can return to the occupant of the second.

Charlie I.

Jason Kelly of the South Bend Tribune wrote the funniest sports column I have ever read -- "Mitre by Adidas, doctrine by Charlie I." Writing about the fans' "faith that Notre Dame football will rise again," he somehow managed to tread the line between obnoxiousness and humor without ever once stepping over the line.

You can't lose with line like:

  • "Maybe that explains the relative haste of the conclave in Rome. Pick a Pope before kickoff, before the first audience with Charlie Weis."
  • "His sermons on offense and how to execute it have made believers of players and prayerful fans alike during this spring season of rebirth."
  • "Rooted in the doctrine of moving the chains, the principles Weis espouses in his encyclicals satisfy both conservatives and liberals. As Rev. Michael Heintz noted in a Michiana Point of View column Wednesday, a good Catholic should aspire to defy such simplistic, superficial labels anyway."
  • "While the College of Cardinals selected a man described as the "defender of the faith" from Germany, Notre Dame chose a man of offense from Jersey."
  • "Like pilgrims to the stain that resembles the Virgin Mary on a Chicago underpass, devoted Irish followers also believe they see the reflection of that holy coaching trinity in Weis."

Man-o-man am I going to miss reading the Tribune sports page every morning.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Benedict's twins

I missed a few good photo-posts about the Pope while I was away on my internet diet.

He has been compared to the Emperor (by SSK9 and others):

To Touchdown Jesus (by the Library Despot)

And even to Hannibal Lecter (by Pablo72)

My favorite, though, is the "New pope lays out Cardinal Law" headline at Space Station K9.

A habit and a hobby, but not an addiction

As I promised, it has been just over 48 hours since I last read a blog, comic strip, editorial or box score on the web. The only deviation was to naviagate to Space Station K9 and Library Despot in order to verify addresses for my blogroll.

I like reading blogs. Some, like Mirror of Justice, cause me to think. Others, like The Anchoress, cause me to reflect. Then there's Space Station K9 which twists my face into contortions, and Daily Kos which makes me want to scream. Boing Boing just alerts me to wonderful things, and Matthew Yglesias allows me to see things from a different perspective. They all broaden my horizons in ways that the mainstream media rarely does.

I am not an addict. I suffered no withdrawal symptoms, and I was able to fill my days quite well without my daily dose of the blogosphere. Now that I know that I can do without it I'll get back to reading. I am now 23 posts behind at Professor Bainbridge and 17 behind at Althouse (I won't even look to see how many Instapundit posts I've missed).

I'm glad to be back.

The end of an era

With only three weeks left in my degree program, this is probably the last time that I will stay up all night writing a paper. There is something almost wistful about this moment; it is another of those many "lasts" I will experience over the next few weeks.

With a cat on my lap, tunes on my headphones, and a pot of coffe ready, I am looking forward to an exciting evening of paper-writing bliss. Oh yeah!


  • 12:07 -- I have organized my notes and sources, written a detailed outline, and decided on relevant examples for the paper on image retrieval. The cat is a really good study-buddy. I have not moved from this spot because she is snuggled up so nicely on my lap. I wouldn't want to disturb her sleep....
  • 12:35 -- So much for productivity. I got a little distracted and set this up. Don't expect any updates for the next few weeks, but I do have a lot of Grover pics to upload. Alrighty -- back to work!
  • 1:36 -- Assessment Assignment complete and emailed to partners.
    Back to the image retrieval paper. The goal is to have a draft that I can submit for critiques.
  • 2:49 -- I am starting to get sleepy and my shoulders are getting tight. The cat is still curled up on my lap (looking a lot like this). This paper has the potential to be really good.
  • 3:36 -- I have a complete draft! It is really not worth going to sleep at this point, so I will start in on the presentation for my other class.
  • 3:51 -- Blogging is taking the place of solitare in my paper-writing routine. It is pretty amazing that I have been sitting at a computer four straight hours (minus one tea-and-crackers break at 2:30) and have not played a single game nor read a single blog. LAUNCHcast has helped too. Jimmy Buffett's "A Pirate Looks at Forty" is on the 'phones right now. "My occupational hazard be, my occupation just not around. I feel like I've drowned, gonna head up town." [5:07 -- I guess I had hit a slightly hyper-point at 3:51]
  • 4:41 -- I am done with schoolwork for the day (or at least until class starts). Thank you for sharing this experience with me. It has been fun!
Some of you may be wondering why I would go entirely without sleep on Thursday instead of spreading the work more evenly accross the week. There are several reasons for this, all of which have been learned through experience.

I gain efficiency by working in long chunks of time because I am able to focus my energy. I am able to complete a thought before getting up and less time is wasted reminding myself of what I did during my last work session. My schedule during the rest of the week is so split up by work, errands, and other commitments that I rarely get the chance to set aside two consecutive hours anytime before 11pm.

Additionally, I have learned that I am less affected by one sleepless night than I am by the accumulation of nights with very little sleep. Take for instance, two weeks in which I get 50 hours of sleep.

Week 1777701210
Week 25555398

I get the same amount of sleep in both weeks, but will be a happier and more productive warillever in Week 1. In Week 2, the compounded lack of sleep would leave me grumpy and utterly unproductive by Wednesday. Granted, the Week 1 senario leaves me utterly wiped on Friday, but as I have previously mentioned, when I am exhausted I find a long sleep very refreshing.
  • 9:04 -- I have no idea why there is all of that space before the table. Probably some sort of HTML issue, because I hand-coded the table. Sorry :(
  • 9:11 -- I fixed it. Blogger interprets "enter" as a linebreak even though it does not display that way in HTML view. This blog is testing the limits of my HTML and CSS knowledge!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Blogger question

Does anyone know why Blogger sets the date and time of a post based on when you start writing instead of when you finish? For example, I started the last post at 7:22, but finished at 8:37 because I had to leave it aside for 45 minutes. I had to manually change the time.

Is there any way to change this?

First official words

In his address to the College of Cardinals yesterday, Pope Benedict outlined his goals for his pontificate.

"The Church today must revive within herself an awareness of the task to present the world again with the voice of the One Who said: 'I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.' In undertaking his ministry, the new Pope knows that his task is to bring the light of Christ to shine before the men and women of today: not his own light but that of Christ.

"With this awareness, I address myself to everyone, even to those who follow other religions or who are simply seeking an answer to the fundamental questions of life and have not yet found it. I address everyone with simplicity and affection, to assure them that the Church wants to continue to build an open and sincere dialogue with them, in a search for the true good of mankind and of society.

"From God I invoke unity and peace for the human family and declare the willingness of all Catholics to cooperate for true social development, one that respects the dignity of all human beings.

"I will make every effort and dedicate myself to pursuing the promising dialogue that my predecessors began with various civilizations, because it is mutual understanding that gives rise to conditions for a better future for everyone.

"I am particularly thinking of young people. To them, the privileged interlocutors of John Paul II, I send an affectionate embrace in the hope, God willing, of meeting them at Cologne on the occasion of the next World Youth Day. With you, dear young people, I will continue to maintain a dialogue, listening to your expectations in an attempt to help you meet ever more profoundly the living, ever young, Christ.

This is exciting stuff! Yes, all of of it is a continuation of what has come before, but that itself is exciting. As he acknowledges, the Pope's task is to "bring the light of Christ to shine before the men and women of today: not his own light but that of Christ."

Thus far, he has been far from his "Rottweiler"image. The message is one of unity and hope, dialogue and entusiasm. I hope that it is accepted as such.

I am particularly happy to hear that he will continue the World Youth Day tradition that his predecessor started. That his first World Youth Day will be in Germany is especially fortuitous. We can only pray that he will be able to spark a Christian awakening in Germany and Europe.

Since I am not reading blogs today, I am not sure what others have said about this address. Maybe it is better that way.

Framed [scribble]

Originally uploaded by warillever.

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien

In case you hadn't noticed, I just added a blogroll to the page. It is over there on the right, below the "previous posts."

I had been working on it for a few days but had not yet published it because it was not perfect. I'll fix it when I can, but decided that something was better than nothing.

Football as religion and religion as football

Much has been written about the religious nature of football at Notre Dame. Football weekends are rife with ritual and ceremony. The very excitement lays in the predictability of events. Meredith Foley describes this aspect of Irish football in a 2001 essay:

At Notre Dame the religious ritual aspects of the football game are somewhat muted, but they can still be discerned by the careful observer. Prayers are typically said before, after and during the game. For example, the team attends Mass before the game, fans join hands and pray at crucial moments during the game, and Masses are said at multiple locations on campus immediately after the contest. Very often after the games one of my friends who is a Eucharistic Minister will dash out of the stadium to serve in the Stepan Center service 45 minutes after the game. She tells me that these Masses are also always filled with football fans and the presiding priest rarely fails to mention the day's game in either his homily or opening and concluding remarks.

It is also significant that touchdowns and point-after kicks are made into the open arms of the Jesus mural on the library. The religious message of the mural is that spiritually Jesus draws humanity to salvation with His outstretched arms just as He guides the Domers to success in the stadium. This undercurrent of meaning is what makes the sport such serious business for Domers. Heads may not literally roll after a losing contest, but certainly the faces of innumerable fans will be either raised or downcast for the following week depending on the outcome of the contest.

The combination of football and religion is not limited to Domers' feeling toward football; they often treat religion like a sporting event. People get genuinely 'fired up' about their team, and the recent selection of a new pope was no different. At each whiff of smoke during the conclave, people ran to televisions as if to watch the score. Brendan Loy describes the scene at ND Law Scool on Tuesday, and I can assure you that the rest of campus was doing the same thing.

There is a tradition of hanging signs out of dorm windows in the week preceding a home football game. These signs are usually made of bed sheets with painted messages. Some of these signs are ornate (like Zahm's "Here come the Irish" or Carroll's "Go Irish"). Others are crude or rude, or funny.

Campus Ministry still managed to surprise me, though, with their pro-pope sign.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Is he making fun of me?

I get the feeling that that guy at Space Station K9 hasn't appreciated my thoughts on the power of the Holy Spirit.

"The Force" and Pope Benedict

(and I only noticed because I was adding SSK9 to my blogroll)

A woman who reads

(stolen from an anonymous poster on a chat board. If this is copyrighted, I apologize)

A couple goes on vacation to a fishing resort in northern Minnesota.
The husband likes to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife likes to read.

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and
decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife
decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors
and continues to read her book.

Along comes a game warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman
and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies. (thinking isn't that obvious?)

"You're in a restricted fishing area", he informs her.

"I'm sorry officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading.

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at
any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.

"If you do, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the

"But I have not even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could
start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

Never argue with a woman who reads. It is likely she can also think.

The blogs aren't the problem.......

I have not read a single blog today, yet I have still not been very productive. I think it may be that dreaded disease -- senioritis.

My symptoms are classic -- laziness, procrastination, and apathy toward schoolwork. As any of you that know me probably know, this is not the normal me.

Unlike a high school senior who has already been admitted to college, my "senioritis" is not caused by complacency. Like a high school senior, however, I am trying my darndest to make the most of the time I have left with the people I've come to like here.

Alrighty -- back to work. I might as well make the most of what is left of that as well.

Which one is a warillever?

..and is she reprehriestless?

Or is THIS a warillever?

A Spring walk






"Couldn't you start smoking or doing crack?"

My husband thinks that I am addicted to reading blogs. To prove him wrong, I will go without reading ANY blogs for the next 48 hours. This means no Althouse, no Instapundit, and no Anchoress. To make it a real test of my willpower I will also refrain from reading WSJ's Best of the Web, the New York Times, CNN , or even

You can ask me how I am doing on Friday morning, but don't bother posting it in your blog -- I won't read it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What matters

Here it is in the Pope's own words: [full homily from Monday's mass available from Vatican Radio]

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking… The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching”, looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today’s standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man.
If this is your mission, Pope Benedict VXI, you will have a hard road in front of you. But it is a fight worth fighting -- the fight for the One Eternal Truth.

They Disagree

It looks like Kos and Andrew Sullivan disagree with the selection of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the 265th pope of the Catholic Church.

Not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless.

Professor Bainbridge has a (not-so charitable) refutation of Sullivan's post. Amy Welborn has an explanation of why they (and others) care.

My take? Because of the very things that Kos and Sullivan hate. Because as an insitution, the Church has managed to stay real in a day and age when we are cynical about everything. Because the Church does not make decisions based on daily polling numbers and is willing to stand up for what matters. Because, depite the assumption of atheism, one billion people worldwide consider themself Catholic.

UPDATE: A round-up on negativity at the Daily Standard.

Habemus Papam!

Habemus Papam

Wikipedia has an entry already.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pray the vote

I'm with you SSK9

My first outside link!

Only two weeks blogging and I have been noticed! Not for my brilliant commentary or magnificent art, but for my strange name. Such is life I guess.

McGehee's Yippe-Ki-Yay is rising in the ecosystem, and decided to share the wealth:

Obviously every link helps though, and TTLB doesn’t value the high-traffic links over the others, so I’m going to single out another blog for a special show of gratitude, just because it caught my eye in the referral logs: reprehriestless warillever—whatever that means. But it’s not like I can talk; as some may recall, this blog used to be called blogoSFERICS.
Now if I could just figure out how to do trackbacks, I'd be a real member of this communty. I'll make sure to add my "Blog Person" logo to the sidebar tonight.