Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Anything Your Dad Can Do Mine Can Do...

This post was ready in a partially timely manner but I wanted to fiddle with it and then Zuzu stopped sleeping and my studies are picking up and and and - sigh. So I have a lot more reasons. But there's my abridged list of why my dad is so great. Forgive any typos. I'm really just hitting post here and not looking back!

I don't mean to brag, but my Dad is pretty awesome. 

Ignore the weird girl with the pompom. My dad has a great profile. 

Unlike my mom, my daddy and I have not always been close. We went through a rough time, like a lot of fathers and daughters; it was around age 13. He and my mom were having problems, and I was having none of it. I like to make decisions and my decision was that my dad was a bad person. 

That was a really bad decision. 

My dad could have said, I've done the best I can - I'm not going to bend over backwards to prove to my daughter that I love her. I'm not going to try to convince her. I'm not going to chase her. But he did. My dad spent the next six years making it up to me, trying to show me that he really, really did love me and wanted to be a part of my life. My dad pursued me and pursued my heart; he did not relent, he did not give up. And you guys, I made it difficult - I pushed him away, rolled my eyes, did not say 'I love you back' and (wince) openly told people "I hate my dad." He didn't let that change that he loved me. 

So in case all of that isn't reason enough for my dad to be man of the century year, here's a list (cause we know I love lists) about why my dad is the best: 

1. Storytelling
You've never heard anybody tell a story till you've heard my dad tell a story. It's slow and relaxed, like a Southern summer, so you have to listen close but man, it delivers. He tells me about nail driving contests by a bunch of roaming carpenters from Oklahoma, tails of growing up in the South and the Heartland, and memories of us kids when we were little. It's always a fascinating listen. 

2. Straight-shooting. 
My dad likes people to be honest because he is honest. He's not honest like my mom is honest - so honest it'll knock your teeth out - but honest like a river flows, in that it's just what he knows to be. Some people try to make rivers into lakes or change their courses, but they always find their way back to being a river; my dad is like that too. Whenever he is less than honest, he feels it's wrong and comes back to who he is - a plain ol' straight shooter. 

3. Beauty. 
My dad is an artist. He owns a company that creates - creates backgrounds of roller coasters, museum exhibits, anything that falls under 'fabrication and design.' He is also a master carpenter. He used to build houses. He makes beautiful cards. Even his handwriting is like art, like some sort of Art Deco font (he only ever prints). His love of beauty, and dedication to it in his work, taught me to love beauty too and to realize that you should dedicate your life to it, if that's your calling.

4. Be Silly. 
One of my favorite memories is a holiday - Thanksgiving? Christmas? - I don't even know. It was hot, so hot, and I was baking something chocolate. He kept coming in the kitchen and giving advice (giving advice my dad's FAVORITE thing to do - especially if it's a topic he knows nothing about). I kept telling him to stop it, leave me alone. Finally I got so fed up, I dipped my finger in the batter and smeared it on his face! Well, he picked up the spatula and wock! into my hair it went. I was enraged, and laughing, and picked up the whole bowl, ready to toss it - and off he went, scampering out the back door like a naughty child - and I took off after him, round and round the house we went till we collapsed back in the kitchen, calling a truce due to the horrible heat. 
I love how silly my dad is. 

5. Mind Your Manners. 
Do you know phone manners? I mean, when you pick up, what do you say? I'll tell you what - I had the BEST phone manners and message taking abilities of any of my friends growing up because my dad taught me: 

"Hello Rogers residence." 
(yes is david there) 
"May I ask who's calling please?" 
(wonky wonk wonk) 
"Just a moment please, I'll check" ...then check with Dad to see if he wants to talk to WWW, then back to the phone...
"I'm so sorry, he can't come to the phone right now. May I take a message? and how do you spell that? And just to make sure, the number is 123-456? Alright, I'll give him the message. Thank you." 


6. Be Kind.
My Dad is unfailingly kind. Actually, it gets on my mom and I's nerves a lot. Because he's so nice. All the time. My dad is like a throwback to the 1950s; he's so exaggeratedly nice you think he's being sarcastic! But he's not. He's just that nice. 

7. Be Gentle
While my father is kind, he is also gentle. That means that in his approach to certain subjects, delicate subjects, he never demanded answers or even a conversation - he would invite, leave the door open, let me know he was willing to talk about it if I wanted. His gentleness in dealing with me and my feelings has been such a blessing many times, when I felt lonely and knew I could turn to him.

I think we look alike! I have his blue eyes...and now so does Zuzu!

8. Look for the Good.
My father always sees the good in other people, and always gives them the benefit of the doubt. Always. I want to complain about people and what jerks they are - I want someone to commiserate with me! But not dad. Dad doesn't do that; he acknowledges there's a problem, but then quickly moves to explore the reason behind that problem or how we can love the person more. Boy, that Christlike attitude is annoying!! :) 

9. Try, Try Again. 
Like I said, my parents marriage wasn't always the best. At one point or another, one or both of my parents wanted out. They were rough years. But once my parents realized they did want to save their marriage, my father worked hard. I mean, really hard! It is hard work to change yourself after a lifetime of being one way - hard to undue patterns of thought, speak, and action that you realize are hurting people or are unhealthy for your marriage. It takes humility and well, he failed a lot. 
But he didn't give up. The person my dad is today is different in some very key ways from the man I grew up with, because he wanted to be better for  his family. That dedication to keep working even after failure stirs my heart - I think I would just have given up.

Wedding montage...

10. Marriage is Forever. 
I mentioned this with my mom too, but it takes two to tango...my parents could have divorced. Lots of people do. What the heck? They weren't happy. Us kids were even saying - divorce! You're miserable! We're miserable! 
But my dad stayed. My dad stayed and did the hard work and worked his butt off to show us that marriage is worth it. And while he worked hard to show love to me and my siblings, he really worked hard to show love to my mom. My parents love is beautiful - I adore their rhythm, their obvious comfort with and adoration of one another. Their affection and consideration of one another is truly Christlike and it constantly challenges me to love my husband like they love one another. What a gift! A gift to me, to their family, to the world - to show that love conquers all. 

11. Say It. 
Not all dads are big on words and there's nothing wrong with that. But my dad is - from the very beginning of my hazy memories, the words I hear loping out of the mist are "I sure do love you, Martha J." That combination and its attendant rhythm are burned in my brain. He said it all the time. All the time. It annoyed me as a teenager; why does he say "I sure do love you," I'd think. Why can't he just say "love you"?? I don't know why he chose that...but it's now the language I use in my own family, so much so that now I catch Mr. Oram using it too. There's something sweet and homey about adding that "sure" in there and then the child's middle name or middle initial. 
What a blessing that the words I remember most are words of love. 

12. Follow the Leader.
Part of the beauty of my parents marriage is my parents' mutual dedication to one another's interests. My dad is a great supporter of my mom's running and my mom encourages my dad's love of history. This respect flows naturally from their recognition that if the other one loves something, it must be because that something is good in some way - and they often strive to see that good as much as possible. 
Nowhere was that as apparent as when my dad followed my mom into the Catholic Church. When my mom started attending the local parish, my father at first let her go alone...but then started going with her. Soon he was going every Sunday. Dad isn't as bookish as mom, or as theologically inclined, but just by going and seeing what the Church is, he was falling in love. He came into the church several years after she did and he did it entirely out of love - love for the Church, yes, but also love for my mother - he knew that wherever she went, he wanted to follow. 

13. He Never Went to College. 
My dad was bright. He did well in high school, was in Latin club, pretty popular guy. But coming from  a working class home and having an eye on the construction business, Dad decided against college. What is looked on as a suicidal career move now has paid off because my dad has incredible skill and a great work ethic. Now the owner of a very successful business, my dad has skills that are not taught at any institute of higher education. He's amazing.

14. You Get What You Ask For.
A great memory of my childhood is Dad drinking Moosehead beer. I'd walk up and boldly declare "I want some beer!" He'd arch an eyebrow and say "oookay," dutifully handing me the green bottle. I'd take the veeeery tiniest of sips and then cry "YUCK! How can you drink that stuff??"...then saunter away. 
I often wonder how easily that could have turned into a toddler tantrum or even just a rebuff. "No, absolutely not, beer is for adults" or "No, go away - I'm talking to my friends." 

15. Put your money where your mouth is.
My dad didn't just talk about me wanting to go to college - he helped me get there. My dad didn't only encourage me in my faith, he sent me on a pilgrimage to France. When my dad supports something, he REALLY supports it - he's willing to help you get there if he can, whatever the goal. In an age where most people just give lip service to 'being supportive,' my dad exemplifies being in your corner however he can. 

16. Pray. 
I never thought this would be on a list about my dad - because we weren't religious, y'know? But here he is...my dad. And he prays. I know he prays. He's made prayer part of his day, and he's not embarrassed about that. Sometimes one of my nieces will ask to accompany him on a walk and he'll politely say, "Well my walks are my prayer time, so you can't come, but I'll see you when I get back."

Dad and my niece, Livvy, as a toddler

17. Nursing is Important. 
I will NEVER forget the weekend that Zuzu was first here and my dad is sitting at the table saying "now, you know, she'll want to  nurse a lot, but it's important you nurse her whenever she needs to, because you're establishing supply..." WHAT. What man says that, to his daughter??? 
My dad! Also the man who calmly sits next to me on the couch as I nurse his grandchild without a cover; he is perfectly comfortable, neither avoiding looking at me or looking too much. To him, breastfeeding is perfectly natural. His attitude has helped me feel so supported as a new mom, and has been a great example to Mr. O about how to treat nursing mothers.

The kneeler we used at our wedding - my daddy made it!

18. Generosity. 
Short of cash? My dad will spot you. Need a lift home? He'll stop when he sees you walking on the side of the road. Need a place to live? A pep talk? A meal, a hand, someone to help you move, a home for your pet, a job for your teenage son? My dad will step in and offer. There is no need too great or too small for my father to try to help - he believes every need that is set before him is God asking him to help, and he responds so generously. If God the Father is extravagant in his love and overwhelmingly mind-blowingly generous, then my dad is an amazing physical example of that reality. I don't know anyone as willing to help people...except maybe for my own husband (a quality that drew me to him like a tractor beam).

19. Evangelize. 
Sometimes new Catholics are obnoxious; I understand - I was one. I was annoying. I'm sure I still am. But my dad isn't. He has maintained a true humility while still - get this - really inviting those around him to know Jesus. He invites everyone - everyone! - to come to Mass with him. No? Okay, maybe next time. Mass, parish events, confession - he invites anyone who is around him to come. When a friend/coworker expressed reluctance about going to confession, my dad offered to ask the priest to come to work so it wouldn't be as intimidating. 
That's truly desiring peace in people's hearts. 

20. Hard Work. 
I don't know anyone that works as hard as my dad. I mean that. My dad works seven days a week. He built a business from the ground up. He takes calls anytime - except during Mass. I learned a great work ethic and commitment to excellence from my Father. If it is made by my dad, he will stand behind it - it will be right or he'll work till it is. I don't know many companies or people like that these days. I strive to give myself fully to my work every day as he does.

All this to say...God knew what he was doing when he sent me to my Daddy. And I am so grateful.

My dad and brother made this for me - on the other side it says "Bama Law." They're amazing.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

7 Beleaguered Takes

Joining Jen and the gang to assure you all I am not lying in a street somewhere, comatose...

The first week of my mom being here is over (she's offered to stay during the week to help me study) and already I am feeling at once grateful and guilty. It's like having an extremely competent maid and nanny, who is also your best friend, and charges you nothing, and who makes delicious potato soup...
My point is - why didn't I ever invite her to live with us sooner? And how can I convince her to stay forever? 

I have ten thousand posts I'm working on that are as yet unfinished, but two I promise to publish if not for you my adoring public, then for Zuzu (8th month bday) and my dad (Father's Day). Better late than...?

In case you were desperately wanting a Zuzu update, she can pull herself up now! On anything, really...and she is sort of crawling, but as I told dear Auntie Shae the other day, it's more of a pirate crawl? One leg cocked out to the side, with the other in correct crawling position, she extends the one leg and drags the other one along behind...like a pirate. She thinks she's very clever. 
The dog is mostly terrified. 
I'm terrified for his water bowl. 

Edited to add - photo credit by Jen!! (as always)

I hemmed my first pair of pants the other day and I have to say I am quite satisfied with the outcome, even with the weird jersey fabric I was working with (stretchy sleepy pants). Of course, by the time I've gotten 'round to hemming these damn pants, they don't fit anymore. This should comfort me - seeing as they are what I wore home from the birth center - but I really love those pants. Rats. 

I started to watch the show 'Call the Midwife.' (PBS via BBC) My  neighbor told me about it. Everyone who watches it tells me about it because they're like, "oh you'll like it - it's about midwives! and nuns!" Because I'm the only Catholic birthing center gal my neighbor knows, maybe. I love parts of the show - some of the story lines are very very beautiful. But the show also does what I knew it would do - tries, firstly, to link poverty and big families , and then links them both to a lack of contraception. So the picture they paint is that big families are for poor, uneducated people who can't control themselves. It makes me angry because it feels they are exploiting the poor and belittling their joys - as if those in poverty are happy about new babies only because they're stupid and don't know better, but that when they despair at the idea of a new baby, that's real and good. 
The show isn't all bad though...the way new life is treated is generally beautiful, and most of the care of women portrayed is good (with some exceptions made for the way 'things were done' then - routine enemas and shaving - puke). 
Now I'm left to scrounge for season 2....

Spam comments are OUT OF CONTROL lately. But I hate those capcha thingies so...just keep on deleting 'em...

Inspired by 'Call the Midwife,' I want to change my hair. I love hair - hair that is styled! And lovely looking! But mine isn't. I run every other day or so, and I don't always get the time to wash it on a run day - which isn't a problem, because my hair doesn't grease easily, but it does mean I can't wear it down. And my go-to "messy bun' is really just...ugly. My poor husband. So I'm thinking of going shorter, but not too short, so I can wear it straight or curly.  And investing in some hot rollers (so I can set my hair while hanging laundry on the line or whatever charming thing women in the '40s did). See inspirational pictures below:

My hair-spiration: Nurse Jenny Lee

Further hair-love (obviously not the color):

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Joys

Since Tom is the music-man for Vacation Bible School (VBS) this whole week at church, it means I have a lot more of Zuzu on my hands - and studying in the later hours! 

I, for some mysterious reason, chose this as the time to introduce Zuzu to her own room and her own bed. She's 8 months tomorrow, and when I came in to get her from her nap the other day, there she was - sitting up! My heart gave a big jump and I said, no no this just won't do. It was either a king bed and bed rails (not in the budget or cards), or introduce her to her own room. So she's learning...learning she can sleep there, learning she's allowed to play quietly in there if she wants. We don't fel comfortable with CIO, so when she cries, I go to her - to nurse, pat, rock, snuggle, giggle. She's learning. I'm learning. It's our glamorous life. *wink wink*

Chewing on some rosemary from the garden...

Decides the camera looks more appetizing

I snapped up some frames at Goodwill yesterday - sale, 50 cents each! Sadly...I discovered when I got home that the old Florida citrus ads I intended to use them with, are too large. Le sigh. But aren't the ads pretty anyway?

All my new ones! 

I have several that are already framed and hanging on my (not yet painted...it's only been two years...) walls:

Great colors in this one...

Partial to this one for obvious reasons

We drive through Zolfo Springs to get to my parents' place in Orlando, so I really like this one

Also at Goodwill, some silly people had gotten rid of some truly excellent books, which I snapped up quite quickly:

A whole ton of books from the Redwall series (one of my favorites!) and the 6th Harry Potter on the bottom, without its dust jacket but still in hardcover!

Zuzu was pleased...or at least, she was pleased to get to come home and hang out in the nude.

Hope you're having a great week as well! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lazy Sunday Bits and Pieces

Sometimes I have wondered if my family will ever experience Sundays the way others talk about them. We do not get to all leisurely relax or sleep-in; Mr. Oram gets up at 6:15 to get ready and head to play the 7am Mass. He does comes home for a leisurely lunch, if there are no extra Masses for the day, but then leaves again for rehearsal and evening Mass. Sunday as a day set aside for rest and extra prayer - well, at least he gets the latter if not the former! 

But today, as I registered in the early morning haze that he was kissing my forehead before walking out the door, I snuggled into the covers and gave a contented sigh. When Zuzu woke up, we played around a bit - watered the plants, walked the dog, video chatted with my parents. Then I put her down for naptime early - she seemed tired - and we snuggled in bed. She was a bit fussy, so I just pulled her into my chest and stroked her head, which in a surprising moment of calm, she let me do. I stroked her head for a long time, till I felt her breath, deep and easy. I laid her back down and she startled a bit, wanting to nurse for juuuust a wee moment. I obliged. It felt like Sunday afterall - no hurrying to jump up and study, no rushing to get her down and get on with chores. Just time to drink in her sweetness. 

I love nursing. I love every part of nursing. I love the connection between she and I, the cuddles it promotes, the way it can be sweet or silly at turns. I adore it when Mr. O lays in bed or on the couch with us, holding me as I hold her - looking down at her with me. I don't feel apart from him when we nurse; I feel his eyes on me, know that he is proud of me. It brings a feeling of deep satisfaction about my body, not unlike how I felt after her birth. I am grateful this Sunday for my ability to nurse my daughter and be so supported in it. 

Interesting links for the week: 

  • I really adored this slideshow of Extreme Breastfeeding Images. I found the pictures funny and inspiring! Women who take their children with them out into the world are enforcing the idea that our ability to be engaged with the 'greater' world should not come at the sacrifice of family life. 

  • A fascinating look at how some Orthodox Jews view breastfeeding. I have a deep and abiding love of Orthodox Judaism; I always say if I hadn't become Catholic, I'd be either OJ, Mormon, or Amish. Pretty much anyone with a strong sense of culture and a tradition of headcovering. :) 

  • I thought this compilation of the faces of grooms seeing their brides was heartwarming. What a lovely moment that is indeed! I'm reminded of the line in the Twila Paris song, 'How Beautiful' - "how beautiful/ the radiant Bride/who waits for her Groom/ with his light in her eyes/how beautiful/ when humble hearts give/ the fruit of pure love/ so that others may live/ How beautiful!" When I was walking down the aisle, all I saw was Mr. Oram waiting for me - it felt like I think Heaven will feel like, if I get there, God willing! Clouds of witnesses on either side, but I only have eyes for my Lover, who waits for me with joy and expectation! 

  • Lastly, have you heard of Imagine Sisters? They are a movement to show religious life to America. Although religious sisters used to be ubiquitous with Catholic schools, they were disappearing for a while there...but not anymore! This movement shows the vibrancy and beauty of resurging religious life in America. Sound great? Well, even better, they're making a documentary called Light of Love! Watch the trailer here. But they need help to make it. Would you consider giving even a dollar for their efforts? As these are women who have made vows of poverty, they are relying totally on donations to make this film! Please if you can, support their efforts and in so doing, support religious vocations.
I hope you all have a restful, prayerful Sunday! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes

hosted by Conversion Diary

It has rained all week thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea. Although the weather did threaten to send me into a complete and total funk yesterday, it has made for nice running weather (when it's not completely pouring). 

Zuzu and Blackacre helping with laundry (Photo a la Jen)

This is the first full week I've thrown myself into Bar studies and I have to say how impressed I have been with my ability to think when not pregnant and my husband's ability to hang with the baby and keep the house clean. Actually, I'm far more impressed by the latter than the former. He's making me look like something of a slouch, really...

For the sake of TMI, my babe had a yeast diaper rash that I cleared up with Nystatin and then...came back as soon as I put her back in her cloth diapers (we used disposables while using the cream so that our CD wouldn't be ruined). I was perplexed and worried! Is cloth really inherently unsanitary? Is it bad for her? Uh, no. The yeast infection affected the diapers. So now I have to treat all of them too. Which involves things like turning up your hot water heater, using tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract or craziness like that. 

great cloth diaper change (jen)

Yesterday while nursing the babe, I discovered that there are large groups of people who hate on specific professional bloggers because they see them as disingenuous. Apparently, these people want to dismantle the image that some professional bloggers project - images of perfection, harmony in the home life, beautiful food, smiling children - and show that they are people just like everyone else. OR show that they aren't disclosing everything to the public; they're leaving some of the nasty bits out, or photoshopping out blemishes. 
Which makes me wonder - do any of us really think that when reading some of the 'bigger' blogs, that we're seeing a completely realistic portrait of their life? Is there anyone that thinks that blogging, as much as it is voyeuristic fun, is completely realistic? 
I can't speak for others, but I do not feel comfortable putting the real nitty-gritty out there. Arguments with my husband? Only if they're light-hearted. Issues with my family or friends? Heck no, that's disrespectful of their privacy. To say nothing of being unable to write truly about anyone's work, because those things have consequences. 
Blogging under your real name means you have to make decisions about how much to let people see. I'm not sure why there are groups who take issue with that.

Photo by Jen...Zuzu loves her Boba

Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which began with a vision to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the town of Paray-le-Monial, in France. It has special meaning for me (and I'm sure Jen as well), because I visited it after my college graduation in 2007. We were doing a pilgrimage throughout all of France, but this town. I would move to this town if I ever had the chance to live abroad. As soon as we got off the bus, I could feel the town was different. Everything about it was pure and powerful; the chapels, the old Cluniac monastery that is still there - for anyone who thinks the faith in France is dead, this place is a vibrant example to the contrary. We participated in a beautiful Eucharistic procession there and were able to witness charismatic prayer in French, not to mention hundreds of outdoor confessions! 
It was a blessed experience and I have no doubt that the devotion to the Sacred Heart could change the world

Piknik'd picture of Ally, Jen, and I at the Eucharistic Procession in  Paray-le-Monial

If you have not yet heard, and you have a moment, please please pray for Dwija and her sweet child
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! 

I am really interested in what traditions you and your family may have in terms of prayer, etc. I always read about various devotions/traditions Catholic families have, and I think "that's great! we should do that! we should do ALL OF THAT!" and then get overwhelmed and do nothing. So tell me - family altars, daily rosary, Bible reading at lunch? I'm all ears...er, eyes! 

this is as far as we've gotten...we work on a skill and a virtue every week. But to be fair, we've stayed on the same skill for like a month....cause we are not so great at it. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Belated) Cinco Favoritos

Thank goodness Hallie allows late submissions, cause between Bar studying, a daily running habit, and y'know, dinner, the time to blog is becoming mighty scarce...


The only thing I ever wanted to do in life, but never did, was be something of a folk/bluegrass singer. I always thought I'd be really good at it, but never knew how to learn. Singing along to these amazing ladies and their crazy harmonies is as close as I get! 


In high school, I would buy every new seasonal fragrance Escada put out. I was never disappointed! On a whim, I picked up and sniffed their newest one while in Ulta this week and was pleasantly surprised - I still love them! So summery and nice smelling, nothing that hints at 'dusky' or 'spicy,' which always makes me want to puke. I adore perfume, it's an accessory I never want to be without, but I haven't worn it that much since Zuzu came along. I always worry - is my perfume messing with my natural musk that tells her I'm her mom? Am I overthinking?

Growing things. 

Delosperma, a particularly lovely flowering ground cover

With all this rain, the various plants I try to coax into life are flourishing. How lovely! My basil has all-but out grown its pot, my citrus tree is busy putting out fruit, my variegated ice vine (delosperma) is overflowing its pot, and after I severely cut back my mint, it seems to be coming back. Makes me hopeful that I can grow my family! 


Caption on this one regarding why her husband deserves Father's Day: Better yet, he doesn't even roll his eyes when I read a another parenting book and announce that everything we have been doing is wrong and now we are doing it like this.  On a biweekly basis.  

Have you seen this blog? Hysterical. Warning for language. But so many of her drawings really resonate and anything that can make me snort with laughter deserves a FF mention.

Modern advancements in weather technology. 

Having lived through a tornado, I'm more than a little skittish about bad weather during the Spring and Summertime. In fact, I'm probably downright crazy about it. It makes me jumpy and sometimes causes minor panic attacks (which is awesome when I'm in public places!). And so I'm so grateful that now we have technology that will tell me when tornadoes have been sighted or when they're likely; unlike so many in the past, I have the ability to know when it really is bad or when it's just another Florida thunderstorm. 
(on my mind because we're under tornado watch today)