Archive for the ‘Amy Welborn’ Category

The Summit

Many years ago – probably around 15 or so – someone I knew well was accompanying a bishop to a parish in this bishop’s diocese. It was a Sunday, and the bishop was to concelebrate a couple of Masses. During the Eucharistic Prayer in the first Mass, the pastor of the parish did some ad-libbing. After Mass, the bishop told the pastor he should pray the words as written. No ad-libbing. Cut it out. During the second Mass, in the presence of the bishop, the priest did the very same thing. 

I sputtered things like why? Why didn’t he just suspend him right there?

The witness to all of this shrugged. “Because,” he said, “If he disciplined every priest who pulled stuff like this – or worse – he’d have hardly any priests left. He knows it – and the priest knows it. ” 

And there you go.


I’ve not written anything about the  summit on abuse in the Church. It’s challenging to write about anything related to Vatican activities  in any period – I mean, people are still arguing about the events of Second Vatican Council, right? The context of the current pontificate makes writing or even simply understanding contemporary gatherings even more challenging.

Essentially: What you (aka we) see is in no way, shape or form what you get or what is intended.

We’re at the level of 0% Transparency and 100% Narrative Managing.

Yes, it’s pretty terrible.

Veteran journalist Christopher Altieri is providing invaluable insights at Catholic World Report. 

Here he is on transparency:

Responsibility and accountability sound easy, but really aren’t. There needs to be lots of hard work to get those two right — and there are going to be missteps along the way. Transparency, on the other hand, is a no-brainer. At least, it ought to be — and it ought to be the starting point: insisting on transparency is the first, the absolute, the condicio sine qua non of sincerity. Practicing transparency — especially when it hurts — is always the best and most powerful driver of cultural reform within institutions.

Here he is on yesterday’s events:

The fifth and final victim to give witness said, “If we want to save the Church, we need to get our act together and [bring] the perpetrators to book.”

In his opening remarks, Pope Francis said, “The holy People of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken.” That is certainly true, but it is not all that the faithful expect.

“There’s nothing different in here than there was yesterday,” said abuse survivor and victim-advocate Peter Isely in remarks quoted by Crux in reference to Pope Francis’s 21 reflection points. “Where is it in these points that if you’re a bishop or a cardinal and you’ve covered up child sex crimes, that you’re going to be removed from the priesthood or that any action will be taken against you?”

Both in the meeting and on the sidelines — the outskirts, if you will, or the peripheries — victims have been looking not only for “concrete and effective measures” from Church leadership, but for something else. They have been looking for justice. They want a reckoning.

I have more, but I’ve got to figure out how to make it something other than a 3K word rant.


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— 1 —

Today’s the feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

Last year, I was in Living Faith on that day. Here’s the devotion I wrote:

Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock.

– 1 Peter 5:3

When I think about each of the important older people in my life (all deceased because I’m one of the older ones now), all are associated with a chair.

My father’s preferred spot was his desk chair in his study. My mother spent her days in her comfortable chair in the corner, surrounded by books. My great-aunt was not to be disturbed as she watched afternoon soap operas from her wingback chair. My grandfather had his leather-covered lounger, its arms dotted with holes burned by cigars.

From their chairs, they observed, they gathered, they taught and they provided a focus for the life around them. There was wisdom in those chairs.

I’m grateful for the gift of Peter, our rock. From his chair–the sign of a teacher–he and his successors gather and unify us in our focus on the One who called him–and all of us.

— 2 —

Tomorrow’s the feast of St. Polycarp:
He is in my Loyola Kids’ Book of Saints.  


Here’s Terry Teachout on Accessibility and its Discontents

I feel the same way, which is why I don’t have a smartphone. What’s more, I know that my ability to concentrate—to cut myself free from what I once called in this space the tentacles of dailiness—has been diminished by my use of Twitter and Facebook. Josef Pieper said it: “Leisure is a form of that stillness that is the necessary preparation for accepting reality; only the person who is still can hear, and whoever is not still, cannot hear.” To be on line is the opposite of being still.


What does a conductor listen to as his country falls apart?

Here’s an interview with our Alabama Symphony conductor, Carlos Izcaray, who is Venezuelan:

At the top of his playlist? The turbulent “Symphony No. 10,” by Soviet-era composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

“This is a piece that was written just after the death of one of the worst tyrants in history, Stalin, and of course, Shostakovich had to endure many, many years under this regime,” Izcaray (@izcaray) tells Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd. “The movement … the second one, it’s got this militaristic, highly volcanic energy to it, that is very much attuned to the frustration that many of us Venezuelans feel. And if you listen to the end of the piece, there is hope at the end of the storm.”

That storm is a personal one for Izcaray. In 2004, he was kidnapped, detained and tortured by the Hugo Chávez regime.

“I went through very bad mistreatment of all sorts, physical and psychological, [I was] threatened to death,” says Izcaray, who also now conducts the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles. “And what I went through is what many people are going through now in Venezuela. We’re talking about students who are leading the marches, we’re talking about political prisoners.”

Izcaray’s detention caused him to spiral into a “depressive state.” But through music, he was slowly able to rebuild his life.

“I was going to have my big debut with the National Symphony Orchestra as a conductor. Everything was shattered,” Izcaray says. “But after a brief period of just darkness, my friends and my family, my father especially, brought music back to the equation for me. It was a way to heal — both literally and physically, because I had nerve damage in my arm. Playing the cello — I’m a cellist — so by playing music, I got better.

“I think that since then I’ve understood many of the layers that were, until then, not discovered by me — the power of music.”

Interview Highlights

On the Francis Poulenc composition “Four Motets on a Christmas Theme”

“This is a piece that, to me, every time I listen to it, I just — it’s like rediscovering the miracle that is music. It’s a spiritual peace, it’s just sheer beauty. I just think this piece elevates me to a different frequency. [It’s] hard to describe it, and it’s just a couple of minutes long. But I really think that Francis Poulenc captured the most intimate and profound elements of what it is to be a human being and this relationship with music.”

–5 —

Don’t forget Weird Catholic!


Son #2 continues to post film reviews several times a week.

Summer Interlude (Bergman)


The Homeseman

Follow him on Twitter



Sexagesima Sunday this week:



I’ve created a Lent page here.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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Ash Wednesday 2019

And you know – Lent is coming up. Two weeks from today!

Last Sunday: Septuagisima Sunday

Next up – Sexagesima Sunday. 


Here’s a page on Lent. 

Here are some Lent resources from me. 

Also – if you’re looking for a Lenten read, either as an individual or for a group – consider The Words We Pray. 

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Francisco and Jacinta

Today’s the feastday of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Here’s a Fatima book illustrated by my friend and frequent collaborator Ann Kissane Engelhart:

Our Lady's Message cover

Written by Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle and published by Sophia, Ann was brought in to do the illustrations, so let’s give her due credit, shall we? Isn’t that a nice cover? I don’t have a copy of the book, nor can I access illustrated pages online, so I don’t know how the interior illustrations were actually used, but here are some samples Ann sent me:

Blurbs for the book have specifically mentioned the illustrations as worthy of note. So if this appears on your radar, remember that the very talented artist involved has other books:

Another recent work to which Ann contributed is this:

Written by Nancy Carpentier Brown, it’s a fictional account of a friendship between G.K. and Frances Chesterton and another family. 


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This post is cobbled together. I wrote the second part last week, and am just tossing this first section in there based on other material I’ve encountered over the past few days. 

If you’ve not been keeping up, see the first three posts in this series, here , here and here. 

I’m going to revisit the gender issues I posted on last week. As is the case with the news cycle these days – and our awareness of it – related stories pop up every day, so it’s hard to keep up.

Before I dive in, I just want to clarify something. Why am I doing this? As I indicated before, it’s something that interests me – a person long interested in women’s history and the history of social movements.

Secondly, I just want to help – in whatever small way I can – those who are observing this movement develop and are impacted by it via the institutions and organizations with which we’re involved – to be informed.

And not be bullied. 

The links I’m going to share today are offered with one intention: to alert you to the fact that this issue – transgender rights, gender identity issues – is blowing up in a lot of areas and revealing irrationality, inconsistency and downright Crazy Time where ever it does.

In other words: Even if we’re people who like to think of ourselves as brave and countercultural and willing to stand up for the truth, we may, in fact be tempted by sentiment and sympathy and what seems to be an sense of historic inevitability and a reluctance to be on the “wrong side” of that inevitability, of progress, to be on the side of the oppressors. That temptation might be at work here. Fight it. 

For the fact is, this aggressive trans rights movement is startling many on the left, and that’s something to take note of. It’s challenging many to look at the unexpected consequences of their activism and the logical outcome of their past arguments. It has the potential to be a clarifying moment. An uncomfortable one – but that’s the way of clarifying moments.

Some of you might be reading this thinking…these people are obviously nuts and not worth writing two sentences on. Well, fine. If that’s your stance. But that doesn’t help if you really want to engage with the culture as it is – and as it is, right now, the pressure is on to conform and change institutions to line up with this ideology – and it’s vital that we not be steamrolled. Part of that is understanding who your potential allies – at least in this matter – might be. And being confirmed in your hope that…I’m not crazy. But they might be. 

I posted some links in this post, but you might be interested in the following which point to the varied types of people pushing back:

First, if you really want to dig into this, you might venture over to the Gender Critical area of Reddit. Or you might not! Anyway, know that it’s a radical feminist forum – which means it’s generally separatist and of course pro-abortion. But they also pull no punches when it comes to gender identity issues. They see the consequences of trans activism as a cultural and legal establishment of gender stereotyping as well as a misogynist erasure of women as a group – one woman engineer writing, for example, how at a gathering with all sorts of progressives she was asked if, since she’s in this traditionally male profession and isn’t super feminine if she’d ever considered the possibility that “you’re a little bit trans?”

They are particularly pointed on the impact of this on children, many of them being gender non-conforming themselves. Many, many posts from women who are absolutely certain that if they were growing up today, they’d be pushed to “become” boys. 

The title of this post comes from one of their long-running, ongoing threads – When did “Peak Trans” happen for you? In other words – there you were, merrily riding on the progressive/gay rights/feminist river, sympathetic to what seemed at the time to be the next logical step – trans rights – when …wait, what? 

I’ve gone from feeling deep, ‘you poor dear, that must be so hard’ sympathy to being angry as hell at just how much I’ve been being manipulated to feel that way with falsified statistics and threats to self-harm if not indulged in their every whim

Over and over and over again…


Over the last few days, Martina Navratilova – the tennis great who was also, of course, one of the first out gay athletes –  published an opinion piece in opposition to male athletes competing in women’s events – under the guise of transgenderism. Predictably, she has been raked over the coals by activists. William Gurn summarizes in the WSJ:

Are athletes who are born male but identify as female cheating girls? Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says they are. “To put the argument at its most basic,” she wrote this weekend in an op-ed for the Sunday Times of London, “a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires.”

Her conclusion is blunt: “It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.” This isn’t the first time Ms. Navratilova has sounded off on the issue. “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women,” she tweeted in December. “There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.” After intense blowback, Ms. Navratilova said she would have nothing more to say until she’d studied the issue more closely. “Well, I’ve now done that and, if anything, my views have strengthened,” she wrote in the Sunday Times. Ms. Navratilova’s argument comes at a moment when institutions from high schools to state legislatures are wrestling with the real-world implications of equal access for transgender people. When the issue first arose, the most heated arguments were over single-sex locker rooms, rest rooms and college dorms. But the front lines have now shifted to sports—and girls’ sports in particular.

In January, Andrew Sullivan wrote an essay questioning the basis of gender ideology. His take is, of course, ultimately centered on the consequences for thinking about homosexuality, but he also says this:

Most of us, however, intuitively find this argument hard to swallow entirely. We may accept that Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as a woman in 2015, always understood herself as a woman, and see this psychological conviction as sincere and to be respected. But we also see a difference between someone who lived her life as a man for decades, under the full influence of male chromosomes and testosterone, and who was socially accepted as male and then transitioned … and a woman to whom none of those apply. It is highly doubtful that a non-trans woman could have successfully competed against men in athletics in the Olympic decathlon, no less. Whether you look at this biologically (hormones and genitals matter) or socially (Jenner was not subjected to sexism as a man for most of her life), there is a difference. If there weren’t, would the concept of “trans” even exist?

Here’s a December essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books by two Penn State professors – both gay males – pushing back against trans activists trying to get them disciplined and fired for the usual sins related to “deadnaming” and “misgendering.”

It’s in the form of an open letter to a Berkely professor – and if you look at this person’s CV, you can see why this ideology sends traditional feminists into a rage. What is this? When women have had to fight so long and hard to be taken seriously in academia – this? 

A couple of Twitter accounts you might be interested in:

4th Wave Now – concerned with early onset Gender Dysphoria and the pressure to transition. But other issues as well.

Fair Play for Women – concerned about women’s athletics and safe, women-only spaces.

Okay, now for the original post:

One of the areas in which this issue has played out in the United States has been in relation to public restrooms and now, increasingly, locker rooms. You all recall the great passion mysteriously spent over North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” – and all the attendant feverish and pained announcements of boycotts over the Great Injustice.

This bill is built on hate and bigotry. Expressing fears that women will be hurt by allowing the transgendered in their restrooms? BIGOT!

There are, of course, a few issues to raise along with this, but I just want to focus on one.

And that is the truth that people who want to hurt others will go to places where they can do so.

Reality-based structures and institutions must take human weakness, sin and determination to do harm to others into account in their policies and procedures. 

That is simply to say, that if you have a system in which people can declare that they are female and then freely enter female-only spaces, no questions asked, and lawsuit at the ready if you do –

Men who want to hurt women and girls will take advantage of that. 

You can say, “Oh, why would someone go to all that trouble?”

Hey, guess what. They do. 

People with a desire, compulsion or the will to harm someone – a child, a woman – simply another person – will act on that. They will go to great lengths to place themselves in situations where they have easy access to the people they want to exploit.

For pete’s sake – we know this. Don’t we?

Creeps and criminals will go to a lot of trouble to become a teacher, a Scout leader, a priest, a youth leader – they will go through training, and put up with all the attendant nonsense, they will patiently participate in all the activities, and they will just wait – for the vulnerable person to come along, at which point, they have built trust and perhaps even gained a degree of popularity so that of course he wouldn’t do that! Of course we can trust our kids with him! 

Which is why smart institutions structure themselves to protect against these people’s actions. They know – most of them having learned the hard way –  and are realistic about the fact that if a person wants to hurt a child – they will go where children are. 

So with Boy Scouts, you have a two-deep policy – no adult allowed to be alone with a child – at least one other adult must be present. When I was teaching in one school, we weren’t allowed to drive students home – even if we knew them from outside school. It was a pain in the neck, and sometimes these policies overreach in the name of caution (and liability) but honestly – responsible, reasonable adults know that the policies we endure in these organizations are for the good of the vulnerable. They’re for their protection.

These policies are NOT a condemnation of every potential Scout leader. They aren’t saying “All Scout leaders are child abusers.” They’re realistically admitting that a child abuser could take advantage of a situation in which adults work with children. 

And so it is with bathroom bills. Especially with gender self-identification. It is not saying that a transgendered person must want to hurt a woman or girl in a restroom just because of who they are. It’s saying that someone who seeks to harm women or girls could easily take advantage of such a situation – with legal protection.

And it’s not just restrooms any more. It’s health club changing rooms, locker rooms. It’s shelters.

Every few weeks, we serve dinner at a local shelter for women and children. I believe most of the women have suffered abuse. There are a few more or less permanent residents on one floor, I think, but everyone else is there temporarily.

We served on Monday night, and there were a lot of clients there. Women of all ages, from all backgrounds, all there because they’ve suffered,  but have  found the courage to take the next step and move forward. They’re in a place where they’re safe. I don’t know what the process is for getting admitted to this shelter, but I just thought about the cases I’ve read about in which men claiming to be women have attempted to take places at women’s shelters, and the possibilities of this becoming a permitted and even legally protected reality anywhere in the world enraged me.

When I was in high school, we would sometimes collect goods for a shelter for abused women and children that was run by the Knights of Columbus. We were not able to personally volunteer at the home – and we weren’t even allowed to know where it was. Very few people did.


Because abusers seek out their victims. They don’t want to let them go.

So yes.

Start shelters specifically for the non-binary, the non-conforming, for the transgendered – in addition to women’s shelters. Public places, yes –  have the choice of a unisex restroom – but not as a replacement for women-only spaces.

Be brutally realistic about the weird,  lengths to which those who seek to harm the vulnerable will go to. Just be real-  that’s all. And then don’t be insulted by that reality.

You might remember that this week, I’m referring you to the daily Mass readings as inspiration and reference – they’ve been from Genesis 1 and 2 – the creation of the world and humanity.

Well, today (this was written last Saturday), the reading is Genesis 3 – the Fall.

So there you go. That’s the world we live in, and so, as we journey through that fallen world, broken but reaching for grace and wholeness, we shape our lives in ways that help us choose good and structure it in a way that protects others from those who persist in acting out of that fallen nature. 

And yes, some of those ways may involve inconvenience for us or make life a little harder or require sacrifice. Oh. Well. Be mature, accepting and gracious about it – don’t take it personally. If a group prohibits you from being alone with a minor – they’re not accusing you. It’s the policy they have for protecting the vulnerable from those who are practiced at taking advantage of these situations. If we know – and we do – that creepy dudes will go to great lengths in order to get access to girls and women – we acknowledge that and seek to protect them and afford them safe space, especially for their moments of greatest vulnerability.

We’ll do that. And we won’t mind.

Because we’re adults. 

Here’s a good article – from a New Zealand feminist academic – on the issue. 




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My favorite: “I have to tell you it has been fun.” Hahahaha.

I’m going to try to toss up two quick posts here and then spend the next few hours internet-free and focusing. 

If you have a school-aged kid, you know that we have entered the season of open houses and registration and, most importantly, registration fees. It’s decision time.

So our decision is: to homeschool high school for Kid #5.

Backstory and context:


That’s me.

Kid #1 (now 36) Catholic school K-12. Diocesan Catholic high school in another state.

Kid #2 (now 33) Catholic school K-8. Public, magnet International Baccalaureate high school in another state.

Kid #3 (now 26) Catholic school K-8. Public, magnet International Baccalaureate/Theater high school (That was fun….)

Kid #4 (now 17) Diocesan Catholic schools K-5. Homeschooled 6 & 7. Private, order-run Catholic grammar school 8. Diocesan Catholic high school until now – senior year.

Kid #5 (now 14) Diocesan Catholic school K-2. Homeschooled 3rd-5th. Private order-run Catholic grammar school 6. Homeschooled 7. Back to same school for 8.

Specific homeschool background on this page.

I would say – in case you’ve not followed me for long – that the back-and-forth for Kid #5 isn’t due to any problems or issues. Going back to school in 6th grade happened because he wanted to go to school and be engaged by good teachers…and while there were good attempts, the school environment was rocky. Not to him personally, but the total effect was a sub-optimal learning environment, and it was a little heartbreaking. He had an image in his head of what school would be like – and it just didn’t turn out that way. In other words – not anything he wanted to continue getting up early for. So we came back home – but by 8th grade, it seemed that things had turned around (new principal) – and it’s turned out to be a great decision. Good teachers and an excellent posse of friends. No regrets – except maybe Monday mornings at 7 am.

But at this point, we’ll be homeschooling high school. I’m not interested in a deep-dive into the reasons, just because it’s his life, not mine – or yours – and I don’t want to be too hard on local institutions, but…

Who we have here is a very smart (like all of his siblings, I’ll be quick to note! Don’t @ Me, Siblings!) kid who’s self-motivated and with specific interests he wants to put his energy into pursuing. He’s interested in music (although still proclaiming he doesn’t want to study it at the college level or pursue it professionally) and history – almost any kind of history, but particularly MesoAmerican aboriginal cultures – Mayans, etc (last year, while homeschooling, we attended an academic conference in that area down at Tulane) He’s also a big reader and a good writer.

The idea of spending four years in high school classrooms and engaged with high school culture just…doesn’t interest him. And at this point the local options are not compelling to him. That might change – and we just keep saying – none of this is carved in stone.

The other part of the equation is, of course, me. I’m 58 – turning 59 this summer. This is my last kid to have around. I have the resources and the time. I think I can give him a fabulous adventure of a pre-college experience. It’s going to have its challenges, to be sure, but we are both up for it.

So why not?

"amy welborn"


I have many bloggy/internet acquaintances who homeschool high school – Bearing Blog, the Darwins – and so my eyes have been on them for a while, in addition to the many, many other homeschooling bloggers and discussion boards.

There are really just so many options, it’s mind-boggling.



So…what will be doing?

At this point, it kind of looks like this.

(First – understand that Alabama homeschool laws are very loose at this point. Even for a img_20160810_092010.jpghigh school diploma, you don’t have do anything but submit a transcript you’ve created via your cover school…and there you go.)

We will not be using any totally packaged online homeschool program, Catholic or secular. We don’t need to do that – it doesn’t fit our life at all.

I’m going to pay tutors to help with math, some science, Spanish and probably Latin.

There is a wonderful and growing Catholic homeschool co-op here in town, but I just don’t know if we will be around enough for even a schedule of once a week classes. 

He’ll continue all of his music studies  – regular, classical piano, jazz and pipe organ.

Everything else will be ad hoc  – us reading, talking, doing, going to talks, conferences and online resources.

What I’m leaning towards in regard to the humanities is, having one major work being read/discussed at all times – a Shakespeare play, a novel, etc – and at all times, he’s reading a substantive history book of his choice, in an area of interest to him, while at the same time we are exploring resources related to the next trip or an important current event.

I’m planning to use the Homeschool Connections monthly membership  which gives access to their recorded courses. 

I’m also going to use the Great Courses monthly option. 

As time goes on, we’ll be looking at various summer programs, especially those offered by Catholic colleges like Benedictine, Thomas Aquinas, University of Dallas and Christendom.  One of my older sons did the UD “St. Thomas More in London” program between his junior and senior year, and it was very good. Most of those are for slightly older kids, though – and our summer is already almost full this year, anyway,what with a few weeks in Spain, a summer camp and some family events.

As guides for general goals, we’ll be referencing GED prep, ACT prep and CLEP prep.

A core feature of what we’ll be doing is travel.


"amy welborn"

I swear, this was not staged. I turned around, and there he was reading the book we were hauling around with us. 2012 in Paris.

His brother will be in college, so it will just be the two of us. While his brother is confident about college and (of course) brushes off my fretting, I still don’t want to be too far away during his first semester. So while we will travel in the fall, it won’t be anything huge. We’ll probably take little trips here and there to visit siblings and check out sites around where they are and will be, which, by this fall, will be NYC, Charleston, Kansas City area and Louisville. Plenty to see around those places and on the way! We probably could just get on the road and do a continuous loop, don’t you think?

He’s said he wants to go back to Utah and see more of the Nature there – Arches, Canyonlands, etc. So we’ll take a week or so in the fall, do Salt Lake City and the Moab-area parks. I think we’ll also take time, perhaps in October, to check of some more archaeological sites – we’re thinking, Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilan.

Then, for 2020, we’ll get more adventurous. We have no plans, but since Central America and Mexico are important to him, we’ll be spending time there, I imagine, and what I’d like to do is take a week or so every few months and be in a place where he can do intensive language study – which is a lot of places.

If you’ve followed our homeschool adventures before, you know that we’ll be all over the place in every respect. Believe me, I’ll keep you updates.

I will be looking for tutors who can be flexible – who can hand him the work, offer support, but trust that we don’t need to meet every week. (And yes, we will have local tutors – I already have a few in mind, although I haven’t yet reached out – as we say today.)

I’m also looking for an online classroom portal that is not Google Classroom. I want something where we can create a virtual classroom where he and a tutor can interact online when necessary – he can upload his work, the tutor can give feedback, post resources. They’re out there, I’ve been looking at some, but haven’t yet settled on one. Any feedback is welcome.

He’ll journal and keep files, and we’ll be doing close and meticulous record keeping. We did it for 7th grade. I don’t do a lot of planning with homeschool, but I do keep a very detailed record – we did so at the end of every school day in 7th grade, and then collated them into a weekly summary. I thought at one point I had posted a version of our year-end transcript here, but I can’t find it. Well, here’s the post in which I summarized half of our 7th grade year. 

Wait! Found it!



He’ll be 15 in the fall. The other day, I said to him, “I think maybe you could have the goal of getting the basics of high school done in three years.”

He looked at me. “How about two?”

Challenge accepted. 

Image result for seven samurai gif




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Here’s a digest to get you going on a Tuesday that just might feel like a Monday. We’ll Tuesdaystart with:

Writing: Wrote a blog post or two (just click back for those.) I have another post in the exciting Gender series almost ready to go, but news keeps popping up that seems pertinent, so I keep revisiting. Watch for that later today. I also have a post on homeschooling high school that I’m writing. I think I’ll go ahead and post that today.

If you read along, or go to daily Mass, you know that since a week ago, the first readings have been tracking the beginning of Genesis. Today’s the beginning of the Flood narrative. Here’s part of the portion of the retelling of that from the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories. 

(Look back a couple of days for posts featuring excerpts from the Fall and Cain and Abel narratives.)

Remember the format: Stories are arranged according to where a child (or …anyone) would often hear them in a liturgical context – since that’s how most Catholics encounter Scripture. Arranging the stories in this way also encourages a “listen to God’s Word with the rest of the Body of Christ” attitude rather than “View the Bible as my personal self-help book.”



More on the series here. Remember also that I have copies of this book as well as some of my other titles here, available for sale. 

Here’s Son #2 on the Marx Brothers – Duck Soup

He’s singing about oppression, murder, punishing the people of the country through heavy taxation, and that he’s going to be the most corrupt person in the country. I don’t think that the Marx Brothers were trying to “say anything” with this movie, but if they were, then I think this number is the strongest example of what they might have been doing. Put a song and dance on terrible policy, and people will just sing and dance along.

Take that out of context, and it’s horrifying. Throw it into a literal song and dance number while everyone cheers on, and it becomes hilarious.

Follow him on Twitter.

Cooking: Oh, let’s do that next. I haven’t done a lot of cooking, what with work and activities, but I did make this fabulous, fabulous country style ribs recipe from Serious Eats again. So good. 

Oh, and I did Michael Chiarello’s Presto Chicken Cacciatore, which is also great. Just know that you really have to use the porcini mushrooms for this, in order to produce the best flavor. They’re pricey, but worth it.

We have loads of leftovers for tonight, so I’m currently on the hunt for some interesting vegetable recipe  – with acceptable vegetables – to round it out and will probably make a homemade bread of some sort, too.

Then it’s back to a few days of people not eating here.

Eating: The exciting-restaurant-opening-of-the-week around here was an outpost of the Memphis-based Gus’ Famous Fried Chicken. I took Son #5 there last night, since Son #4 was working and doesn’t do spicy anyway. People rave about it, and it was good – really perfectly cooked with a deep spicy crust. But I’m not much for big hunks of fried meat in general. I had a bit – enough to understand why people love it – and then it was been there, done that. 

Listening: Back to the organ this week, a “regular” long-distance video lesson, but a break from jazz as that teacher is out of town. We’re gearing up for recitals and competitions – which of course, coincides pretty precisely with the exact moment in the process that the musician gets thoroughly sick and tired of the pieces he’s been working on for months.

This is very predictable, happens every year, and is undoubtedly a life lesson in the making. Of some sort. I’ll figure it out.

If you’d like a taste of his playing, follow me on Instagram – and if you go to “highlights” you can see some snippets of practices/performances I’ve recorded over the past months. 

Watching: Still caught in that Mad Men loop, but I’m almost done. It goes pretty quickly when you skip all of the Betty parts and most of the Don/Meghan stuff after a certain point.

And…we started watching Better Call Saul. I wanted to get to it before Son #4 goes off to college in the fall.

Reading: I’m not making much progress on The Comedians, but perhaps I’ll finish it up tonight.

I spent a long time last night – because it’s a super-long article – reading the New Yorker piece about fabulist and best-selling author Dan Mallory. 

It’s astonishing. 

But in Colorado Mallory went further. He said that, while he was working at an imprint of the publisher Little, Brown, in London, between 2009 and 2012, “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” a thriller submitted pseudonymously by J. K. Rowling, had been published on his recommendation. He said that he had taught at Oxford University, where he had received a doctorate. “You got a problem with that?” he added, to laughter.

Mallory doesn’t have a doctorate from Oxford. Although he may have read Rowling’s manuscript, it was not published on his recommendation. (And he never “worked with” Tina Fey at Little, Brown, as an official biography of Mallory claimed; a representative for Fey recently said that “he was not an editor in any capacity on Tina’s book.”)

Moreover, according to many people who know him, Mallory has a history of imposture, and of duping people with false stories about disease and death. Long before he wrote fiction professionally, Mallory was experimenting with gothic personal fictions, apparently designed to get attention, bring him advancement, or to explain away failings. “Money and power were important to him,” a former publishing colleague told me. “But so was drama, and securing people’s sympathies.”

Reading this – and absorbing what it tells us about the current state of mainstream publishing – along with the SJW BS that’s taken over YA publishing – this is why, in my fiction efforts, I’m not even attempting to scale that wall.  I’ll just try to write true things, put them out there – somehow – and move on. 






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