Monday, January 12, 2009

25 Random Things About Me (from Facebook)

Gretchen Bohl, the wife of my first cousin once removed, whom I've never met (1), tagged me on Facebook in her note "25 Random Things About Me."

Once you are taggged, you are supposed to write your own list of 25 random things then choose 25 people to be tagged. I did that already. Just for the record, and for anyone who chances onto this blog and wants to know more about me, here is my list.

1. I am a relapsed Catholic. I left the Church in the sixties and then with my characteristic no holds barred approach, I tried living out the principles the world offered as truth. When I realized that the Truth existed back where I had left it, I came back to the Church in the seventies. I am a sadder but wiser believer. Until I got connected to, Pope John Paull II, and finally EWTN, for a long time I wondered where all the believing Catholics (including priests and nuns) had gone.

2. I am delighted to have run across this Italian phrase recently (don't know what it is in Italian): "Reason has a wax nose" -- which means reason can be twisted whatever way the purported rationalist wants it to be twisted. I wish I had that phrase handy when "intellectuals" who thought they were being super-rationalistic were proposing things that I didn't have a good argument against in my youth. Remember that phrase when you read a long book proposing a whole new way of thinking that seems awfully logical. Books like that that come to mind are: The Second Sex, The Playboy Philosophy, Mein Kampf, The Ego and the Id and most psychology books, books about how the free market is inherently moral and will lead to prosperity for everyone, food faddism books . . ..

Addition: The process seems logical. Each point is justified by building one premise after another until a conclusion is reached. Somewhere along the way, however, one or more faulty unproved premises can be inserted that lead to an invalid conclusion. The writer then can build a structure on the foundation of faulty conclusions or on a mix of valid and invalid ones.

3. I spent about 1/3 of my life in Massachusetts, 1/3 in Fargo/Moorhead and Minnneapolis/St. Paul areas, and 1/3 in California. So I have a mixed up accent, that changes depending on to whom I am speaking.

4. Very early on, quite probably while reading New Yorker magazines in doctors' waiting rooms in Massachusetts as a little girl, I came by the belief that happiness was connected to having a good nourishing tasteful meals artfully presented, nice clothes, travel, culture . . .. Happiness is not to be found in these things, alone.

5. I am glad that I got to travel to France, because I was a Francophile until then. I had studied French for six years. Now I think the rationalists have deconstructed much of what was good, and they left behind a society whose values I cannot possibly share. Now I think my Francophile leanings were a type of masochism. Oh, you think you are the greatest? Let me feed your ego by believing you!

6. I feel in love with Rome so much that I canceled plans to travel to Ravenna to see the murals there. All I wanted to do was to stay in Rome as long as I could. I would walk every morning to St. Peter's to Mass in one of the small chapels in the big basilica. It would still be dark when I walked past the statue of St. Peter in the square, who holds the Keys to the Kingdom in his hand.

7. I have two grown children that I named Liberty and Sunshine. One time I lost track of them when they were very small in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, and I searched for them for about a half hour calling, "Liberty! Sunshine!" The natives in their earmuffs and parkas and scarfs and mittens were looking at me funny.

8. I love to watch old movies on Turner Classic movies, but it's almost an addiction. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, movies that end with marriage before marital intimacy -- ahhh!

9. I cahn't stand the Zeitgeist of the current era. I am especially deeply shocked at how easily so many people who were raised with good moral training accepted the shift in morals and behavior that happened after my generation had its way with the world.

10. When I was 15, a high school English teacher told me that I could write the great American novel . I thought I might too. But when I had time to write, I didn't know what I wanted to say. And now I know what I want to say , I don't have the time. I picked up an M.A. in writing along the way, and I won prizes in a few short story competitions, but I never made a significant sale.

11. I feel that I am being nibbled to death by nits. My to do list never gets smaller.

12. About three years ago, I started singing Gregorian chant and polyphony with St. Ann choir. The choir sings at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto, CA, under the direction of Stanford Prof. William Mahrt. I sing my heart out, even though I have only a widow's mite of a voice to contribute. I love that music. If I had an IPod that's what I would listen to all the time. Because they are singing the praises of God.

13. Now I mostly sing in a little schola and attend Mass at an Oratory where only the traditional Mass is said.

14. I have attended to two Sacred Music Colloquiums sponsored by the Church Music Association of America. Learning and singing the music all day every day was a great joy. The CMAA bills the events as Seven Days of Musical Heaven. And they are right. Singing to the Lord morning, noon, and night for most of a week is my idea of a great time.

15. I wish I had 12 kids (or even more), and a proportionate number of grandkids, but God knew best. He also knew best about my having the intelligent, fervently Catholic, deeply good husband of my dreams too, who I hoped I would find someday.

16. I married while I was away from the Catholic Church to a divorced man. So in the eyes of the Church (and myself), I never had a valid marriage.

16. My favorite saints are Mary the Mother of God, Joseph, Peter, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, and John of the Cross. I love them with my heart, I really do. I feel that we are friends. The glorious patriarch Lord St. Joseph (as he is called in the original name of the Mission San Jose), is patron of the city of San Jose and the diocese of San Jose where I live, and he helps me daily.

17. I have a B.A. degree in English and in studio arts, in drawing and painting. I started painting again last year, this time in oils, while I was laid off for five months. Guess what? I painted religious subjects. Then I stopped when I got a job again. The canvases sit unfinished in "the artist's studio" behind my modest Victorian house in San jose.

18. I have the best technical writing job of my life. I have been a technical writer writing manuals for system and network administrators for 25 years. I was laid off twice in the past five years.

19. If I could live anywhere I wanted, I would be on the ocean or a lake in a bucolic environment surrounded by natural beauty. But I would have to have people I love around me too.

20. I like cats and dogs, but they would die of loneliness, since I'm hardly ever home.

21. I love to feed people. When I entertain, I always cook too many dishes and too much food. Mange, mange!

22. I have a blog:, and a website where I have links to some articles I've published:

23. When I started publishing some photos to go with articles I wrote for some small newspapers, I bought a good Canon SLR digital camera. I post my photos (and some photos of my art) at

24. The thrill of my life was my pilgrimage to Israel. Our bus pulled into Jerusalem, and my breviary opened to twice in succession to two Psalms about the city, which I was inspired to read out loud to everyone in the bus with trembling in my voice. When we pulled up at the Notre Dame de Jerusalem pilgrimage center where we stayed, I stepped off the bus and kissed the ground. My friend Jim Fahey pointed out another rock I could kiss, since I seemed to be in the mood . . .

25. My main goal in life is for everyone to receive the gift of faith and for nobody to suffer eternal damnation. And for God to make me fit for His service. (See any of the writings of St. John of the Cross for further information.)

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