Archive for January, 2009


Saturday, January 24th, 2009

They say that one can’t ever be too rich or too thin. Not having experienced the first I would probably agree. But for the too thin part I would definitely substitute time. There simply never seems enough of that.

A few weeks ago I was rushing to get a project ready and out the door. Then came a lot of planning and juggling of priorities until it all fell into place. JG thankfully took on the job of looking for air fares, hotels and such – knowing my habits I would still be sitting at the computer at home trying to find the cheapest flight out of Vienna. There are days when I feel like one of those little furry creatures who run around on a wheel in their cages without getting anywhere at all. So you might think that finally being away from it all, time would be plentiful. Guess again. I am not one to sit at the beach or by the pool for hours on end. If I am on vacation I want to do and see things. JG and I visit nature preserves, we prowl the beach, not looking for a tan but rather to find interesting shells or birds. We walk a lot, capturing anything and anyone who does not run away from the camera, and there it is again – time. So many things to do and only a few weeks to do it all. But I am confident that we will manage to do a decent job of it.

And we already did. After all we did get to visit with our families, we talked for hours with long-time friends, visited the college campus that previously existed only in our imagination. Instead of email messages or phone calls we got to sit and talk and talk and talk . . . time, such a precious commodity!

As the man who was kicking golf balls around his backyard replied to our ‘have a good day’ recently – ‘Every day I wake up, it’s a good one‘. Something we have to remember.

Is the contraceptive pill polluting our environment?

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

It is really way too early in the day to read a story like the one I just came upon. It upsets me. A great deal. It is so far fetched that at first I assumed it to be a spoof, but alas, it seems to be for real.  In the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, claims that the pill “has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature” through female urine. HohKay!

But it gets better: “We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill,” he continues.

Can’t you just picture the circle of purple robed men, the pope wearing Prada (the combined cost of these garbs could probably feed a small nation for a year) , saying things like “brimstone and hellfire have lost their charm, let’s try another approach”? And isn’t an implied threat to the male psyche just the thing!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against large families, I was, after all, raised Catholic, but I also saw the questionable result of preaching abstinence in the number of children our neighbors brought forth. One of my best friends in school had 18 siblings when we lost touch. The difference in that family however was the fact that the parents wanted many kids – I later heard that the cardinal came to the baptism of their 20th child. My real objection to the article in the Vatican paper in this case is not as much about the Vatican’s objection to contraception of any sort, which is another story altogether, but the underhandedness of this story.

One sentence in the above mentioned article made me somewhat happy though – “Millions of Catholics distanced themselves from Rome as a result” . Way to go!

One for the road – or maybe not?

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

The time between Christmas and the end of the year is undoubtedly the season for parties. And one thing these parties all have in common is alcohol.

For most of us having a drink is not a problem, we have a glass or two, maybe a little more, then go home and wait for another occasion till we have a drink again. Bu what happens to someone who does not have the tolerance for alcohol that many of us have, to someone who must steer clear of alcohol because of an addiction. How many times have we heard the urging ‘oh come now, one drink won’t hurt you’,  ‘loosen up, have just one’? Innocent words that can do a lot of harm and at best make the person uncomfortable who in a party environment might have a heck of a time dealing as it is.

While I am generally not inclined to make any kind of New Year’s resolution I was thinking that at the start into this brand new year we could make an exception just this time. We could make an honest attempt to respect the words ‘no thank you’, ‘I don’t drink’.

With this thought I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2009!