Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ the Lord.
Merry Christmas; the boys had a blast today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Harvest Babies

Alie just reorganized the photos, and look what I found!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Repeal Day!!!

75 years ago today, the Ignoble Experiment of Prohibition was repealed. Hoist a glass to FDR, Cheers!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Election 2008: History and Infamy

The 2008 election has come and gone. Senator Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of these United States. He becomes the first African-American president in our country's history, and the first President elected from the Senate since John F. Kennedy in 1960. His running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden, is the first Catholic Vice President. I wish them the best of luck and pray that the Holy Spirit illumine their minds as they lead our nation.

I did not vote for the Obama-Biden ticket. I found their support of the Freedom of Choice Act, and voting history supporting abortion to be deplorable. As a Catholic, I find that I cannot support a candidate for office who holds such views and acts on them while in office. I did not support the Obama tax scheme, which advocates a greater redistribution of wealth and increasing the estate/inheritance taxes. I felt that the lesser evil was to vote for the McCain-Palin ticket. Not entirely pro-life (McCain supports embryonic stem cell research), but more pro-life than Obama. They support the continued hostilties in Iraq and Afganistan as a means of securing the Middle East for American interests. I say that the U.S. never should have invaded Iraq at all. American interests in the Middle East would have better been served by a stronger presence in Afghanistan, and if more efforts were taken to rebuild that nation. I digress.

Fr. Rob, at Thrown Back, has written a column that articulates my thoughts on the predicament of the Catholic voter more than I can. A sample:

Many of us are volunteering to cooperate with evil, because we see no way out of the dilemma of aligning ourselves with one party or the other. In essence, faithful Catholics are forced to accept whatever bones the major parties and candidates throw us: If we think the Democrats offer more compassionate social policies and the prospect of ending the war in Iraq, we must tolerate their embrace of abortion and same-sex unions. If we think the Republicans offer the best hope of eliminating abortion-on-demand and defending marriage, we have to be willing to tolerate their embrace of "preventive" war and so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Catholics, it would seem, are being forced to make Faustian bargains every time they enter the voting booth.

My thoughts may not seem particularly cogent, yet to be quite honest, I am sick of being played by politicians. I am tired of the politics of fear put forth by the Republicans, and I am tired of being condescended to by the Democrats. I truly wish for a third party that I could vote for and truly feel that my vote is not wasted. It makes me wish that Teddy Roosevelt and the Bull Moose party were still around. The cynic in me says that the third party option will never take root in the U.S. The optimist says that there needs to be enough like-minded people willing to have the courage to work for a third-party to make it happen. On the other (third?) hand, I am beginning to think, like Adams and Washington, that the idea of political parties were evils that sullied purpose of representative government. They have no place in a true republic. Coalitions of like-minded representatives could get together on pieces of legislation for the good of the country, never mind the career-advancing advantages of partisan politics.

Two hundred years ago, the American Church expanded with the creation of the dioceses of New York, Bardstown (Louisville), Boston, and Philadelphia, and the archdiocese of Baltimore. John Carroll was the first bishop of Baltimore, and thus, one of the fathers of the American Church. From his Prayer for the Nation and Civil in 1791:

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

I am alive

Ok, so I haven't put anything up since Fathers' Day. I thought I would break my silence, in Angela form.

  • The twins are doing great. Fifteen months on Tuesday. Both are walking, can carry the balls, toy trucks, and Daddy's books off the shelf while toddling along.
  • I bought a new car in July. Green Mini Cooper with white roof and mirrors. His name is Winston, and he can go really fast...
  • My little sis Sarah got married a month ago. Husband's name is Sean. Now Sarah is a Fruit. No shortage of joke material between Dad and I. I think the first child should be named Tutti, the second, Juicy. The third will be Ripe.
  • My friend Mike got married last weekend. In Houston. Needless to say, candlelit mass. Congratulations, Mr and Mrs Policratus!

More to follow as always, now for Heidi, Sarah, Jackie, Mike, Angela, Carol, and maybe the other 2 of you who read this blog, this is what you have been waiting for:

Leo (up there) and Joseph (down there)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fathers' Day

Well, it is quite a bit belated, but a Happy Fathers' Day to all you fathers out there. Last year, the day didn't really resonate with me, because I was only about three weeks into fatherhood. This year, really, really meant something. I have gone through over a year of feeding, changing diapers, taking pictures, going to the doctor, sleeping in the boys' room, not sleeping while in the boys' room, and on and on.
Alie had to take a visit to Willits this past weekend, so I had the boys. We watered trees, took a trip to the grocery store (yikes), and played a lot. I got a really cool Father's Day present from Joseph. We were playing on Sunday evening, and I picked him up by the hands, and told him, "Walk!". The past couple weeks, the boys would start walking while having their hands held when we said, "Walk,". I left go of Joseph's hands. He fell on his butt. We tried again, and Joseph stood for a moment, then took THREE BIG STEPS, and flopped into my lap!!! Leo took a single step last Thursday, but three whole steps!!! I was so happy; Joesph was pretty thrilled too, of course, my cheering kind of scared Leo for a second. So, I had a pretty good Fathers' Day.
Below is a picture of my irrigation crew after a good long bit of telling me where to put the hose. Directing Daddy is hard work.
On another note, I simply pass up the past weekend without mentioning the passing of Tim Russert. Mr. Russert passed away last Friday of a sudden heart attack at age 58 (three years older than my folks). For my part, I usually watched his political coverage from NBC's Washington DC bureau, and Meet the Press as often as I could. I appreciated his ability to simplify complex issues without condescending. His style of questioning was tough, thorough, and quite fair. I watched the tribute show on Friday night. I did not know that he had written a book in tribute to his father, and men like him: post-WWII lower middle class, Irish-Catholic, hard-working men who gave their all, and I mean their all, for their kids. I didn't realize that Russert was a very strong Catholic, educated by the Jesuits, and was a very generous man. One of the best stories I heard was from Wolf Blitzer. After Pope Benedict's visit and address to Catholic University of America students in April, both Blitzer and Russert were part of a private audience with the Pope. The tough journalist Russert was not there, but instead was an excited schoolboy. He said, "Can you believe it Wolf? Two guys from Buffalo are going to meet the pope!". After listening to different journalists and politicians talk about Russert, these were not two distinct personalities, but rather the whole Russert package. This is why so many of his colleagues and admirers mourn his loss. Go with God, Mr. Russert.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The party!

The boys had their first ever birthday party Saturday before last. We had it at Bolado Park, the local fairgrounds. About 20 of the the boys' friends and family showed up. I even barbequed (tri-tip, hot dogs, and VeggieBurgers), Of course, there was a camera.
Look at the cakes that Mommy made. Daddy did not have anything to do with making these.

Leo (in green shirt): "Dad made tri-tip, and he gives us melon salad? What's going on around here?"
Joseph: "Relax, I've seen the cakes, and I think the two little ones have our names on them! Why hasn't Daddy got the Baby speed reading dvd yet?"
Preparing for the carnage.
Money shot. Leo pulled the unlit candle out of the frosting, and shoved the frosted end in his mouth. Joseph just went for it. Perfect.
Daddy, Leo, Sofia, Natalie (Sophia's mom/Joseph's godmother), Joseph, and Nana. The hat didn't agree with Leo...
Joseph: "Nana said its my party and I can open whichever present I want, right Nana?"
Come back next year!

Friday, May 23, 2008

One Year On...

Well, one year ago today, just about this time, the boys came into the world. I have such a hard time believing that the year has passed. They have grown so much. Born just shy of 6 pounds, they are close to 25. At night, sometimes they feel like 40#. They can both now stand for about 10 seconds before falling on their little diaper-clad butts.

In honor of one year of snuffins, here are a few favorite pictures. Some are making their Wheezes debut.Leo (orange), Joseph (black) at Sophia's 1st birthday party, April 2008.

Joseph, such a graceful eater.

Mommy and Leo, February.

Leo vs. cookie... Carnage followed.

Winemaker-in-training Leo at Christmas. Don't worry, not a lead foiler :)

Baptism in August. I held Joseph; Alie held Leo. Fr. Kambitsch is our parish priest.
Leo (l) and Joseph (r) just before New Year's.

Leo at 6 months with Nana.
Joseph at 6 months with Great-Grandma Barbara.

4 Months old. Leo on the left, Joseph on the right.

Leo at about 3 weeks.
1 day old.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

PopeTrip '08

By now, unless you live under a rock, you should know that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has come to America. He came last Tuesday, arriving in Washington. He was greeted at the White House on Wednesday, left for NY on Friday where he addressed the UN, had Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral yesterday, met with youth and seminarians yesterday. He visited Ground Zero and celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium today.

I have been a fan of Joseph Ratzinger (B16) since I was a student at Cal Poly in 2001. I have read a few of his books, and liked what I read. What really made me pay attention was an interview he did with Raymond Arroyo, of EWTN, 2002 or 2003. What struck me was that here was a man of fearsome reputation and towering intellect, but on the radio, he had such a quiet and gentle voice. As I listened to what he had to say, I was struck that the man answered questions, not with a one-sentence answer, but he answered in paragraphs. He also had a wonderfully quick wit and dry sense of humor. I can get along with that!

I listened to a lot of the events on PopeTrip via Sirius satellite radio. They did a superb job. Not only did EWTN and The Catholic Channel provide wall to wall coverage, but The Catholic Channel got two more channels; a "Papal Playback" channel and a "Papal Archive" channel. The archive played parts from speeches and addresses from previous papal visits to the US. Paul VI intoning his famed "War no more, war never again" speech from the UN visit in 1965. JP2 speaking in a strong, clear voice sent shivers down my spine. The last time that I heard his voice was just before his final illness in 2005. They even dug out the oldest known voice recording of a pope: Pope Leo XIII singing the Ave Maria in 1903. The sound quality, and His Holiness' voice were not the best, but being able to hear something that old was a treat. I hope that they keep playing archived sound from the popes on the Catholic Channel in the future.

I think I will be quoting parts of B16's speeches and homilies for the next couple of months. I have the texts. Thank you Rocco! By the way, you must give Whispers a look. Rocco did an awesome job of covering this week for us all. Rocco rocks, what else can you say!!! I don't think I'll do much of that quoting now, save for this one quote from last night's youth rally at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers/Dunwoodie, NY.:

Friends, again I ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ. The saints show us the selfless love of his way. As disciples of Christ, their extraordinary journeys unfolded within the community of hope, which is the Church. It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. -Benedict XVI, St. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers NY. 19 April 2008

Thank you so much for coming to be with us, Holy Father. Safe travels home, and God Bless You!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Break the mommy?

Alie and I have a theory that the boys have a game we call "break the mommy". We watch them either playing or in the high chairs after getting fed. They will talk to each other in their unitelligible (to us) twinspeak. They'll talk, look at us, laugh, and then talk more. We think that they are consipiring to "break the mommy and daddy". When Alie and I talk on the phone during the course of the day, I'll ask if they are playing break the mommy. They usually are. Alie has taken pictures of Leo and Joseph trying to subdue an adult.

Leo (in green shirt) and Joseph (in blue shirt) have spotted the mommy.

The boys want to play. Play with us, Mommy. Mommy decided to keep taking pictures.

Full court press. The boys want to play! End of baby attack. Mommy not broken. No snuffins (or mommies) were injured in the taking of these photos.

Babies at the gates

We have a few baby gates in the house, one of which is at the door to their room.

Leo at the gate.

Close up of the teeth o'Leo.

We're cute (Joseph on the left), let us out!

Baby photos

I know you have all been waiting with baited breath for this post, so prepare yourselves...

Going for the Easter basket. Plastic eggs with Cheerios for the boys, chocolate for Mommy. Okay, and Daddy.

Leo found a toy hippo in the basket!

Joseph found a colorful cow in the basket, too.

They had a good Easter; they even behaved at church.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

This is the day that the Lord has made, let all the earth rejoice! (Ps 118)

Happy Easter everyone! I hope this finds you well. Baby pics to come: they had a big time at Easter dinner today. It has been a big week; St. Patrick's Day, Holy Week, and the first week at the new job. I got a promotion to assistant winemaker at another winery on the Cenral Coast. Fun Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, here I come. Photos may follow.

He is Risen, alleluia!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Something else to pray for

Some of you have heard by now, but the Archbishop of Mosul (Iraq) , His Excellency Faraj Rahho, was kidnapped nearly two weeks ago. He was abducted right after he left a church in Mosul. His driver and two other companions were killed. AsiaNews has it that another phone call between abductors and mediators was to take place tonight. Masses and prayers are being offered in Rome and Damascus, among other spots. The wife said, "Pray for an Easter miracle,". It may sound blithe, but that is just about all we can do (or hope for a search & rescue mission from the US armed forces...). Pray, pray, pray for His Excellency's recovery. He is in frail health, and is one of the most insightful minds in the country.

The original story in AsiaNews:
The update:

UPDATE: Archbishop Rahho's body was found in a shallow grave outside of Mosul around the 15th of March.
Grant him, O Lord, eternal rest. May perpetual light shine upon him.

Baby Pics

Ok, so its been awhile since I put up baby pictures, and I know that all 3 of you readers out there are dying for some new ones...

Joseph with Great-Grandma Barbara about 3 weeks ago.

The boys ready to go pruning in the vineyard!

Ok, and one pic of the fuzzy one with my dad.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The (*$%#() internet connection is being really slow tonight. Baby, vineyard, and doggie pics to be uploaded tomorrow. Besides, it'll should be a lovely day tomorrow. Go out and play.

Papa Benny Quote of the Week...

Thus, what we are ultimately praying for in this third petition of the Our Father (Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven) is that we come closer and closer to him, so that God's will can conquer the downward pull of our selfishness and make us capable of the lofty height to which we are called.

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, pg. 150

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Running and Lent

I made it for a 2 mile run on Sunday evening, funny how dawn patrol gets in the way. So, I think I'll keep my Lenten plan to myself. Let's just say that it hits all three parts: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Happy Lent everyone. Sunday #2 is coming up! Oh yeah, Happy St. Valentine's Day!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Running again

Last Saturday night, I was able to run for the first time in about a month. I logged 2 miles (run up to Cienega School and back), and was chased in by the rain. On Thursday morning, I did the same run and cut 1:10 off of the time from last week. The plan now is to keep running a few times a week. I'm going to try my four mile ruoute tomorrow morning. Hey ho, here we go!

These 40 days

Here we are again, Lent is on us. It's a bit early this year; it is suppossed to be the earliest Lent and Easter in over 150 years. A few scattered thoughts.
A lot of people treat Lent like the only thing that we do is to give up something, and to treat it like a New Year's Resolution that we are bound to break. Lent isn't supposed to be like that. We are preparing to celebarte the most wonderful thing ever; the passion, death, and RESURRECTION of Jesus. Just as we prepare for Christmas with four weeks of preparation, we prepare ourselves for Easter. It is a trifecta of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Giving something up is only 1/3 of our process for Lent.
We should focus equally on each of the three aspects to the Lenten journey. Good luck to all. I am still debating on letting you all in on my plans. I'm asking myself if that would be too much of a display or if it would be helpful to you, dear readers. Considering that the readership is probably me, myself, and I; this wouln't be too much of a display...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Babies' First Christmas

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Leo and Joseph celebrated their first Christmas!!! Yay! Here are a few pics.

Opening some presents yes, they can rip paper :).

What did they get right out of the gate? More jammies!

Joesph, blankie; blankie, Joseph.

Leo getting in a little exercise before Christmas dinner.

This one has a story. I put the bottle of wine for Christmas dinner in the car seat with Leo when we went from the car to Mom and Dad's house. Leo was, um, curious. Chalk it up to starting the little guy out early.

Again, I hope you had a great Christmas season!!!