Saturday, December 17, 2011

Worst Gamer Ever

Mac's new game: really relaxed or dead?
I hate this game.
FYI he was relaxed.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Unnamed Chapter in my Unnamed Book, Ohh, UNNAMED!

Recently I took advantage of an opportunity to think about how truly blessed I am to live where I do, when I do. To live in an age where at any minute I can be in contact with just about anybody I know or don’t know. Through mobile phones, instant messages, blogs, Social Networking and smoke signals we know just about everything about everyone as it happens. To have information at my fingertips on anything I might want to know about or not know about instantaneously.

Got a suspicious mole? Google it. You Googled it and Google told you that a mole is a small animal that burrows and now you are worried because you are even more concerned as to what a small furry creature who likes to burrow is doing on your person in the first place. Post it on Twitter and ask your followers for input on mole removal; or when all else fails, go to WebMD and really freak yourself out with some self-diagnosis.

A weird looking butterfly just bit you in the neck? There's an ap for that on your web enabled smart phone (Do you have one of those? I do. I’m typing this chapter on one right now while simultaneously instant messaging with my friend in Glasgow, finding a recipe for mole soup and uploading a picture that I took of a suspicious man who I think was featured on America’s Most Wanted).

I had about 40 minutes or so to think about these things as I hung out (literally) in an MRI machine. My mom, dad and sister are all cancer survivors, and since most of my dad's side did not survive all sorts of different types of cancer, every time I sneeze twice in a row or the moon is aligned with a certain planet, I have to have some test done because it might be the "C" word. You can imagine what happens then when a “suspicious lump” is found.

Not only do we have MRI's to see if there is a lump, bump or a tumor but we even have blood tests (that I contributed to after the MRI) that test for mutations in genes. Living in this time with this kind of technology with my genes is a pretty awesome blessing. Speaking of, I always thought having your mom and dad’s ‘jeans’ was so stupid, like, who would wear their parents, pants? But then I googled it and figured it out.

After being subjected to over three hours of tests that would tell me if I had cancer or even if I had a higher percentage of ever developing cancer, I had had enough. So I did what any good Californian would do, I paddled out and went surfing.

I thought of how blessed I was to be able to not only physically enjoy an hour of surfing but how I didn’t have to feel guilty for it because I wasn't ditching out on work to do so. I am so blessed to be able to do what I love for (albeit a small one) a living (so maybe I make more of a “surviving”). To live in a place that is truly beautiful and to have the freedom with my time and health to enjoy it is a gift.

The longer I sat on my surfboard in the water the more my mind went back to where I had just come from and the people I had met. Those who would never get to the hospital, to go through hours of testing in the first place, not because of their phobia of doctors but because there are no hospitals near them. People who never know they have cancer but just get sick and die.

I had just returned from a few weeks of traveling and performing Comedy in Europe. I had spent Holy Week with a group of Irish teens on Pilgrimage in Medjugorje, which is in the former Yuguslovia. Half way through our weeklong stay, I heard from some of the teens who had spent the day and volunteered with this nun, Sister Muriel. "We went with her into the hills and fed old people", was the report they told me. I went with them to deliver more donations and to meet her. She was a nice grandma nun from Boston who had the thick stereotypical Boston accent that made me want her to say things like “Park the car in Harvard Yard”.

Sister Muriel peaked my interest and going back to her “office” with my new video camera, I asked her if I could go along and film as she made her deliveries. “Praise Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Sure Judy, sure, that would be great!”

As I got in to the van, with Sister in the driver’s seat, I mistakenly reached automatically for the non existent seatbelt. Understanding that this was going to be quite a ride, I made my peace with Jesus, settled in, and listened to Sister explain how this Boston nun ended up here driving a van up the back mountain roads of Croatia.

Sister Muriel came to Medjugorje on pilgrimage when she was 68 and after some time learned that many elderly people were dying in the mountains because of a lack of food and care. Most had no pension, while some received $20 a month from the Social Service Office. Seeing them alone and forgotten, Sister became furious and stated in prayer to God the fact that, “Somebody needs to do something about this!” Sister received a very clear message back from God, “You are somebody. Why don’t you do something?”

So, where as I would pretend I didn’t hear anything or blame that message on some bad Mexican food from the night before, Sister Muriel listened and got permission from her superior and then from Rome and moved to Medjugorje to “do something”. She had no “pastoral plan” or “mission statement” she simply “showed up” and trusted. Sister began waiting tables and used the money she earned to buy food and started to deliver it to the elderly. As word spread, villagers would tell her of more elderly people needing her help. Now at 85 she delivers food and supplies to about 300 "old people" (as she calls them) who live up in the surrounding 90 villages far from the gift shops and pilgrims who flood Medjugorje. She has one full time volunteer, aptly named Mary, who helps her. But other than the semi-weekly helpers (usually from Ireland) in the summer who drive along with her to make her deliveries, it's just her and Mary. After years of hard work, Sister and Mary have raised through generous pilgrims and donations from the States, enough money to build an assisted living home which can hold 50 residents and ground has been broken for a second such facility.

As we made our way up the windy roads, Sister told me that most of the elderly were women who took care of their aging parents or disab led siblings and never got married themselves. Now they are alone with no income or pension. Gulp. I am assured that Uncle Sam can at least allow me to buy cat food when I am 90..maybe.

Usually, these people's houses consisted of one room, no running water, maybe electricity, maybe a stove, a bed, a chair, a table and lots and lots of Mary and Jesus pictures on the wall. They were all around the same age as Sister Muriel, but not in as good of shape. At times with no one to talk to for days or weeks, they were more excited to talk to Sister (even though Sister barely understands Croatian and spoke just as little) more than to receive the food she was bringing them. Their faces would light up, especially when they saw the 2 teenage boys we brought along that day to help us deliver. The two were both named Sean (go figure) but Sister changed it to John and then to the Croatian Ivan so the people would understand better. Apparently you don't find a lot of Sean's running around the former Yugoslavia. As poor as they were, what they lacked more than material needs was human interaction and attention. These people were literally dying from loneliness. Sister was not only bringing food to them, but was being ‘Jesus with skin on’. Sister Muriel was ‘building the Kingdom of God” here and now by consciously intersecting her will with God’s.

The more people we visited, the more I stopped feeling sorry for them and started feeling bad for what I take for granted on a daily basis. Obviously for the surplus of food, clothing, and shelter I have, but also for the people I have in my life. For the first time, I understood why things often get in the way from appreciating just what I have in my life. They sometimes even get in the way of people.
It made sense that I don't need to buy something just because I want it. Chances are I have the same thing at home but it got lost in the shuffle amidst the piles of other "stuff" that if I lived to be 100 would never have time to wear, watch, play, eat and listen too.

The people in the mountains had nothing. But they possessed something that people in our culture lack. They had a sense of peace. They had a happiness that this world does not recognize. Sure, given the choice, you, me, or the poor grandma living in a one-room house would be drawn to a life of security of three meals a day, running water, friends, and cable TV. But never knowing that, these people rely on something else. Something that you can't see or hold tangibly in your hands; Their faith is unwavering. Their faith is in a God who doesn’t guarantee rose gardens but rather would be with them no matter what situation they faced. They believed Jesus at His word.

I think back to a woman who's sister, with whom she had always lived, had recently died of cancer; and her only neighbor whom we had just visited was dying in her bed alone. She was in mourning and was what the Irish would call, keening. A long cry intertwined with laments over her sister and the pain she felt. She was faced with the fact that soon she would be totally alone with only Sister Muriel visiting her once or twice a month if time allowed. Then she did something that stopped me dead in my tracks. Through her tears she wanted to know how Sister Muriel was. Was she OK? Not once did she express a "Why me"? or "Can't someone do anything"? or even the famous, "Where is God?" All she wanted to know was how Sister was and struggled to get up and bring us chairs for us to sit on. I know I would be singing a different tune. I stubbed my toe pretty bad once and wanted to consult with toe specialists and felt perhaps Life Flight should be called in because I was in pain and I wanted everyone to know and to do something about it. I was in awe of this tough mountain grandma who's beard was healthier than most lumber jacks. Her concern was not about herself, but of the woman who was just as old as she was who was bringing her food and friendship.

Going from people who have nothing of material value but are so filled with a quiet joy, to my world of loud music, fast Internet and many times people who have the world but lack so much joy, made my head spin. I thought after leaving the final house we visited that this would be it. I would go home sell all I own, shave my head, eat nothing but dirt, and live under a rock. Or at least never complain again about anything EVER. But wouldn't you know it, not 2 days later, being human crept back into my psyche again and I was really mad when the movie on the flight home was the same one I saw flying out.

But some things have changed. For one, I got rid of about half of what I owned and don't miss any of it. I went through my closet and gave away things that I was keeping just to keep. Space taker-uppers. Junk that at the time I just had to have it. I think before I buy things now. Not, can I afford this, because the answer is no (no matter what, even gum I need to put on layaway). But I think, am I buying this because I need it or because I am bored, bothered, anxious, or empty? What do I really want? I'm slowing down more and looking at the big picture. I am not getting mad at people who have 11 items in the 10 items or less line at the supermarket checkout or drivers who cut me off in traffic. I'm seeing how blessed I am to have been born in the Country, State, City and family that I'm in.

And if anything, it hasn't made me think of my career as silly in the big scheme of things but on the contrary; I can see how blessed I am to make people laugh for a living. I hope to never take for granted my life and the opportunities I have every day. Don't get me wrong. I still like my stuff, but now hopefully, I will begin to put more value on true wealth instead of the kind that is passing. Anyone who is around long enough and is paying just a little attention to life understands that it is ALL passing.

I sat on my surfboard thinking about a nun in her 80’s who is in better shape than me making a difference. You will probably never hear about her after she dies or see a movie based on her life. But in her own quiet determined way she saw a problem and when she asked, “Why doesn't anyone help those people?” decided she was just as good a person as any to do something about it. I'll keep telling jokes for now. Sister Muriel has a good 20 years in her until she needs replacing. I also would like to say that being rich does not make you evil. You can be a very good person and be happy and find peace with lots of money. I keep telling God that I'll prove it to Him. I guess I need to help out a bit by buying a lotto ticket.

How long have I been sitting in this water? Man, my toes are pruney and that's when it came up again. I have been having these tinges I guess you could say. These desires that I dare not tell anyone. I want to go and serve the poor. Why should the Sister Muriels and the Mother Teresas of the world have all the fun? I could do what they do.

Now please stop laughing and listen. I'm not talking for a year or even 6 months, but I have a desire to go and push myself to see and help those who I would never meet. Those who never know the luxury of being inconvenienced by an MRI or a stack of insurance paperwork. I can’t offer medical care, or plans to build an irrigation system. But I once made a 90 year-old Croatian lady who didn’t speak English, had no teeth, and a substantial beard, laugh so hard that she almost died! So I think that could be beneficial.

What good is it to stay and experience life in a comfortable bubble when there is such a great need for people to experience love and laughter? I swear I'm not turning into a hippie; but in the past few years my travels that I look back at with the fondness memories have been spent with people in horrible situations who were in need of someone just to be with them. Someone who could be Christ to them if just by giving them supplies, a meal, or a much needed smile. Laughter is a universal language. Sure, it’s not so universal that if you are stopped at a checkpoint in Russia and guns are drawn on you that laughing will get you out of it. But a chuckle shared between people who don’t speak each other’s language certainly tears down some walls. Snorting while laughing is even better! Shooting milk out of your nose while laughing is too much and you just shouldn’t do that.

I started thinking, where could I go? I have two months, January and February
open, so it’s going to be winter. I need to go tropical, I can't help people if I'm cold. I mean, I could...I would just prefer a tropical setting. Which country could I go and experience and actually help others for a few months or weeks without hurting myself or them? There would definitely have to be monkeys wherever I go. Monkeys but no bugs. Monkeys, no bugs, and Wi-Fi.

You have been warned. The desire is there to serve my brothers and sisters who might not own more than one pair of shoes, understand what DVR is, or worry about the long term effects of aspartame. I know what I am supposed to do now is pray and listen. When the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready to go. That is, as long as there are monkeys, Wi-Fi, and no bugs.

So with that understanding that someday I would travel to far lands and bring my gifts to the marginalized, I still had to wait for those results to see if indeed this time the jig was up. After 2 days of waiting and eating whatever I wanted (since I could have a had a horrible disease and drop dead at any minute) I marched into my doctor’s office and asked for my MRI results. It was time to see what that "suspicious lump" (not related to a suspicious mole) was.

Here is a tip from Aunt Judy. When the doctor's office says they will call with the results they are not lying. They just have a different concept of time than you or I might have. Because they would eventually call you back, but you could have died from natural causes in the meantime.

The MRI man (I think that was his official title) told me the results would be read in a few hours and my doctor would be sent the results by the end of the day. Fair enough. I have played this game before. I get a test done with the understanding that it is probably nothing, and in the course of waiting for the results every Lifetime movie, phone company commercial and Hallmark card you see is about breast cancer. The devil loves to take the unknown and twist it until every worst-case scenario is played out in your head until you are convinced that God has abandoned you, suffering and death is pending, and soon you will be a statistic. Fear kicks in, maybe even anger, some confusion, and before you know it you are standing in front of the fridge at 3am eating straight out of the carton of Rocky Road.

But not this time. Between the “finding” of the “suspicious lump” and the final MRI, I had been traveling for a show. While on the road, I found myself at a healing service. That sounds weird. It’s not as though I awoke from a kidnapping to find myself surrounded by intercessory prayer-warriors, or while out on a walk happened upon a gang of healers. I was at a conference and from 2:30PM to 4:30PM on the schedule was a healing service. Without going into too many details, I felt a marked difference after the prayers of healing had been prayed. When I say marked, I guess I am really saying heat. When I say heat, I guess what I am saying is that my area in question, got HOT! A kind of hot that only the Holy Spirit or a small trash fire can generate. And since I didn’t smell smoke I knew the Holy Spirit had gotten the job done.

What I realized while sitting in the office was that horrible disease or not, I was OK. (I also realized the people at the front desk kind of freak out when they realize you aren’t going to leave until you are told your results and freak out even more when you bring a lawn chair, cooler, and a DVD player with Lonesome Dove).

I have said it before but each time I go through a scare God leads me into a deeper understanding of what kind of peace He can bring. Just like the elderly I met in the hills who had a quiet peace in the misdt of utter caos and horrible conditions, I too had a sense of this peace. It came from an understanding that, yes I might have cancer, or I could be fine. Regardless of the result, I would be OK because I was beginning to understand who God was. While He didn’t guarantee just because I believed in Him I would never experience pain and suffering, He did promise to be with me every step of the way. Our modern world is sometimes looking for a “magic bullet” Jesus who will take it all away. Instead, God entered into our humanity. He is Emanuel; God with us. I guess the key is to understand that if I can find peace in something like that, I can find peace in the million stupid things that happen everyday, which are in no way as scary or stressful, yet they still cause me great worry.

In the end, when you figure this life-lesson out you are either really holy and they fast-track you to Sainthood, or you die and you have a V-8 moment and
think, why did I waste all that time down there worrying when I could have been eating ice cream and playing canasta with the elderly?

As they called my name to go back for “the reading” I was very calm and finally my ears heard what I had already knew in my heart, “Whatever was there before is gone now, I can’t explain it.” “Well duh!” Is what I yelled on the inside but on the outside I just smiled and said, “thank you”.

I left the doctors office secure. I was alright. Come and get me world, what could you possible throw at me? What a stupid question. I got home and promptly went outside to play with the dog and cut some roses for a vase, and while walking, the grossest thing that has ever happened to me occurred. For those of you who have ever had the pleasure of walking on the beach in California, you have probably stepped on seaweed or bulb kelp and felt it pop underfoot. Well that’s what happened last night in the dark, and there was no seaweed around. I instantaneously knew what it was and every part of me wanted to have a Silkwood scrub right then and there. I ran in the house (very carefully) and got the flashlight. I came out and after a few seconds of searching found what I knew it was. I had stepped on a dead mouse and it had exploded! I knew it was dead because ants don’t usually gather that quickly unless they are on some sort of performance-enhancing drug and if that’s the case, I have a whole new set of problems. Praise Jesus I had my sandals on because I can barely get the thought out of Mickey exploding under my sandal and the thought of his spleen doing that on my bare foot would have taken all of God’s peace away. He would have had to come and personally driven me to the “get that terrible mouse exploding under your foot sound out of your head” doctor.

Now you are in the loop, like it or not. If you have been offended because I spoke about my hot body parts, elderly Croatian women with beards, or exploding mice I am sorry. I don’t make this stuff up; I just report on it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dog's Can't Read

Sometimes I think if Mac looked at the can his food came in he would think I was feeding him the dog equivalent to Soylent Green. Good thing he doesn't look.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NCYC


Heading off to Indiana today to hang with 23,000 Catholics.  Not wasting my time, I'm calling in St. Jude on this one right off the bat (he's got a great batting average).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mac the Hunter


Poor Mac, he loves what he kills. RIP coot, gone to soon.

Friday, October 28, 2011

50!

Happy 50th wedding anniversary to my mom and dad! 
It is no coincidence that they were hitched on the Feast day of St. Jude.
Saints be praised!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Williamsburg, VA

Thank You Mary Ellen for an AWESOME time in Williamsburg, VA! You make colonial times fun.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This is Your Invitation

The Sacredness of God's Handiwork - NOUWEN

How do we live in creation?  Do we relate to it as a place full of "things" we can
use for whatever need we want to fulfill and whatever goal we wish to accomplish?
  Or do we see creation first of all as a sacramental reality, a sacred space where
God reveals to us the immense beauty of the Divine?

As long as we only use creation, we cannot recognise its sacredness because we are
approaching it as if we are its owners.  But when we relate to all that surrounds
us as created by the same God who created us and as the place where God appears
to us and calls us to worship and adoration, then we are able to recognise the sacred
quality of all God's handiwork.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Sunday Visitor Interview

Although the hardships might seem like ample cause for a bleak atmosphere in the Church and a grim attitude among its members, three Catholics with a great appreciation for wit — Jesuit Father James Martin, Lino Rulli and Judy McDonald — argue that now is the time for Catholics to infuse their spiritual lives and faith communities with a renewed sense of humor and joy.
www.osv.com
By Lindsay Ross. Three funny Catholics explain why lightening up a little is a must for followers of Christ


Comedian: God created us to have a sense of humor, and he’s in on the joke
Judy McDonald is a Catholic comedian and former youth minister based in San Diego, Calif, who has performed in parishes, conferences, colleges and military bases around the world. 
Our Sunday Visitor: It can be difficult for people to discuss religion with others. How does humor help you reach audiences on this topic?
Judy McDonald: Humor is international; it cuts down all boundaries. When people are laughing together, their guard is down. After you laugh and tell somebody about embarrassing things in your life, when you deliver the message of Christ to them, they’re more apt to receive it because now you’re not just some nut with the Bible thumping them — they know about you and you’ve almost built a relationship with humor. They can hear the Gospel on a level where there’s a little bit of trust.
OSV: When you perform, how do you strike the right balance of how much humor to put into the topic of religion?
McDonald: A misconception when people hear that I’m a Catholic comedian is that I’m just going to make fun of the Catholic Church, which I don’t do. I generally just report on my experiences. But for me, I’m heavily dependent on my ghostwriter, the Holy Spirit. Before, I would hem and haw and worry and now I really take into prayer who I’m talking to. When is it OK to put humor in and when is it not? It’s just something you learn over a period of time, and it’s only by listening and being obedient that you know.
OSV: How has having a sense of humor helped you in your own spiritual life?
McDonald: It’s a two-edged sword for me, because I get challenged a lot that funny people can’t go deep. That’s something I really struggled with until I came to the understanding that God created us in a certain way. Now I understand that the only reason I have a sense of humor is through God. What I think and what humans think is funny is because God enabled that to be in our personality. He knew what he was doing when he created beans and what would happen to our bodies. God has a sense of humor; I just think we don’t always get the joke. 
OSV: What are people’s reactions when they learn that you’re a Catholic comedian?
McDonald: Right away, people either say, “Oh, that’s cool” or “Do you make fun of the Church?” There’s a lot of misconception and misunderstanding. I think a lot of times with comedians we think of biting or cutting or tearing-down comedy. But humor in its purest form is just joy, and that’s why I think it correlates back to spirituality. It isn’t about tearing anybody else down; it’s about looking at life and saying, “Yeah, that’s kind of funny.”
OSV: What can Catholics do to lighten up a little and see the joy in life more?
McDonald: Certainly, the average Catholic laughs at all sorts of things, but what we tend to do as humans is secularize what we do and where God is. You don’t really think that God is present when you’re having a good time.
But he understands that part of being human is laughing. Once we understand that good humor is reflecting back on how good God is, I think we can celebrate humor more and not take ourselves so seriously. We can appreciate that God could have made us without a sense of humor and made us grumpy all the time, but he didn’t. You will spill milk out your nose if you laugh too hard, and God knows that; I think he delights when we do that.
McDonald’s website is www.judymcdonald.net.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'd a go, you'd a go, we all go crazy for the Vertigo

July 28th 2011 my world started spinning, literally.
While attending mass during a conference I was speaking at in Spokane, Washington all of a sudden my left ear became muffled and quiet and my right ear was engulfed with a high pitched buzz.  The theater that mass was being held in started to spin and my breakfast asked permission to come out the same way it had entered just a few hours before but I declined it’s request.  I sat down and made it through the rest of mass and then went to the speaker’s room and sat down very slowly.  What was going on? I didn’t eat anything weird like blow fish or unknown berries from the Forrest.  I had gotten plenty of sleep and had been drinking water. It’s not like I was nervous for my talk, I had already written it out and had given it once 2 weeks earlier and felt comfortable with it. I decided to lie down on the floor and once I was down, getting up just seemed impossible.  My heart rate started to ba-boom ba-boom double time and I started to feel like the lights were just a bit too bright and shut my eyes for relief but that didn’t help because my world was spinning just as much in the dark.  And that has been my story for the last 6 weeks. 
Vertigo isn't just like being dizzy. Please, being dizzy is fun; vertigo is serious. How can I explain it...it's like going on the tea cups at Disney Land with the worst case of stomach flu you have ever had.  Throw in the annoying symptom of hearing my own voice in my ear (kind of like when you get water in your ear but it won't go away) and you can understand why I have been such a joy to be around lately.  It's not all bad.  Oh wait, yes it is. 
You never know how much you use one part of your body until it is rendered useless.  Who knew watching TV, reading, writing, using the computer, surfing, golfing, hiking, and going to Costco were nearly impossible to enjoy with vertigo.  I have only missed about 4 walking days through all this but now I walk a bit slower, a bit more side to side and with a stick (there are no walls to hold onto in nature).
Lately when people hear I have vertigo they have all sorts of advice.  Everything from shaking my head to taking a certain kind of vitamin only found on Sesame Street has been suggested.  People are only trying to help but after awhile it's almost easier to have people think I knocked a few back at the bar than to explain why I am holding on to the wall while I walk (because the floor keeps moving).  

Things slow down with vertigo.  Some words sound different to me than before so when people are talking to me it is certainly a trip and an effort to understand what they are saying.  It’s made for some awkward moments as well when I misunderstand  a phrase and take the conversation down a whole new path.  The trouble is people think I am just being funny so instead of correcting me they just wait for the giant punchline of why I am now talking about gophers when we started out talking about what side up a penny should be in one’s loafers.


The words coming out of my mouth have not been that cooperative either.  At times I know in my head what I want to say but what comes out is less than perfect.  Once again this is why the rumors at church have started. 

I never knew how many people nod their heads while talking to me and how much I use non verbal communication to agree with people.  It’s a hard habit to break especially when I don’t want to interrupt a person but still let them know I am listening.  So my conversations with people have become a real effort on my part.  Plus I stare and seem like I don't care, but really, I am concentrating! I must now focus on their mouth when they speak and if they are rocking back and forth I must grab them by the shoulders and tell them to stop, which doesn’t work since while they are rocking back and forth I counter rotate with my vertigo and I end up grabbing the air and sliding down the wall.  Once again, seeing this on paper makes me realize why the rumors have increased and why people keep giving me that look of empathy.  The same look I use to give the slightly older puppy with a lazy eye thrown in with a bunch of cuter younger puppies at the pound.  

After 2 weeks on prednisone and dealing with such fun symptoms as blurred vision,  nausea, vertigo and the most unique one of sometimes instead of food going down it goes up and out my nose, my ENT ordered an MRI of my brain.  This excites me for many reasons.  Obviously I love spending money on medical tests, that’s a given.  What I am really looking forward to is seeing not only the size of my brain but what kind of hamster is in the wheel that controls it.  I hope to God the hamster did not die in there.  But if it did we will replace it with a stronger, smarter hamster or maybe even a gopher.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

SFCC 50 Years!

Alumni Mass tonight @stfrancisvista 5PM! Celebrating 50 years, plus Sister Madeline Fitzgerald will be @ the reception!
"Oh love, come and see me!"

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Mac on Mac

I feel like Mac is seriously hindering my writing career.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Conferences and Broccoli

I was blessed to be in Minnesota last weekend for Steubenville North, and even more blessed that I got to stay inside and not meet the heat face to face. Next weekend I am off to Tacoma, WA for Steubenville Northwest.
In the mean time I plan to see how many times I can avoid direct contact with the sun, avoid contact with tourists, avoid all attempts for mutiny and also vegetables. I will embrace everything else.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mac Has a Drug Problem


Mac had to go to the vet today and to prevent the vet from getting his face bitten off he prescribed some happy drugs for Mac to take before his appointment. Needles to say, I did not plan his happiness to hit before we even got to the car.
Chewie did his best to help his brother get up...but to no avail.
Oh my gosh...I'm a dog lady.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday America! You Don't Look a Day Over 40








It just seems like I was just in our Nations Capital testifying on Baseball doping charges.

God Bless America, apple pie and Kenny Rogers!


Amen.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Pumpkin Harvest

I am planting pumpkin seeds today. 
I have a pumpkin seed addiction so this might be a bad thing.  I might be setting myself up for an intervention.  I welcome one. I dare you.  Please just don't get me an interventionist who needs more help than me, if it's my special day, I don't want anyone stealing my thunder.

Maybe some nice perennials instead, I don't think I can eat those.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

1000

This is my 1000th post on this blog and what have I learned?
I learned that a lot of people find my blog when looking for a Canadian line dancer, a realtor from the south, Sandra Bullock...the list goes on.

The 1000th post to a blog is a milestone I guess, like hitting 1000 miles on your car or hitting your head.
I hope this blog brightens your day from time to time or if nothing else gives you that same self esteem boost I get when watching a TLC show about people who have weird addictions like eating toilet paper or laundry detergent. If I'm your "at least I'm not as bad as her" person, your welcome.  Anything I can do to validate your normalcy is my pleasure.

I notice I have patterns in my blogging.  At times I can write until the cows come home and then they do and I spend so much time playing with the cows that I forget to write a blog for weeks.  Damn cows.

The advent of posting pictures and videos has really cut down on my work and being a lazy blogger is a pattern I sometimes fall into.  But it's much better than falling into a ditch or a bear trap.  Believe me...oh, that might be a good blog.  Maybe for #1290 or perhaps I will wait until I hit the 2000's to write about the bear trap incident, by then the statute of limitation will have passed and I will be free to tell you the whole story. Who knew a bear could afford a lawyer?

I am just impressed (or embarrassed, the two feelings are so closely related) that people continually read this blog.   In fact, 20,061 (68 from Latvia) have visited my blog since it's existence and all I have to say to you is...go outside and play with the cows!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thank You!

A big thank you to the 400+ who came to the show Friday night.
It was great to see so many people with sore cheeks! I do what I can to build the Kingdom...and the Parish Center.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's OK...Maybe

Tick Tock

Buy your tickets soon! Don't get left behind (like the rapture but different)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bonding With My Pop

Today I bonded with my dad.
After realizing this weekend that I had been tithing wrong (I am suppose to tithe 4 hours of my time to the Church and work 40 hours and not tithe 40 hours of my time and work only 4 hours) I decided to spend today doing something fun.
So my dad and I bonded.
First I went in the back yard and dug up worms (which only led to me finding a sprinkler leak which postponed the fun having for a few hours) and then it was off to the Country Club to the designated fishing hole (after we signed waivers of course).
And we fished.
Until the line got snarled and then we unsnarled for longer than we actually fished.  And then when the second pole got snarled and we then unsnarled again we both decided that fishing is kind of stupid (the ultimate bonding is to decide together that something is stupid). So then we went back to what we know we both are good at, swinging a stick at a ball...in short, we got back with our Scottish roots.
I love my fishing/un-snarling/golfing buddy dad. (no fish were harmed in the posting of this blog...or golf balls).

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Principal of the Matter

I was blessed to see my two principals from my elementary career at St. Francis Catholic School last night.  They are both recovering nicely from their time spent with me during my formative years.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my God momma and my momma I emerged from...no wonder I like you so much! Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Up Dawg

This has been the longest stretch I have been home all year and Mac is just coming to the understanding that I can be trusted not to leave the house while he goes to get a bone from my mom (that's how we soften the blow during a road trip, he gets a bone while I slip out the door and if by chance our eyes do meet, I simply explain "I am going to church" because he knows that never lasts more than a few hours).  He has stopped following me every time I get up, well most times, at least he has stopped trying to come into the shower with me.  
It is nice to be loved so much.  Even if Mac does not love perfectly,  he does try.  Like the other day when he wanted to show me he cared for me by plopping his golden retriever body down on my lap while I was working on my laptop.  Apparently dogs don't understand that paws and keyboards do not mix.  All he wanted was to sit on me to make sure I did not escape again.  I don't know what happens when I leave town, but it must be too horrible to talk about because for as close as we are, Mac has never opened up about it.  I do know that Mac is smarter than I was at 10.  For one thing he has avoided going to the doctor for almost a year now.  Of course when I was 10 I didn't bite (stopped that at 9).  He also knows when to disappear when my mom decides its time to clean his ears, give him a bath or tries to get him to do math homework...again, something I would have killed to figure out at 10.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday - The Path of Waiting

Passion is a kind of waiting - waiting for what other people are  going to do. Jesus went to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the  people of that city. And Jesus knew that he was going to put a choice  before them: Will you be my disciple, or will you be my executioner?  There is no middle ground here. Jesus went to Jerusalem to put people in  a situation where they had to say "Yes" or "No". That is the  great  drama of Jesus' passion: he had to wait for their response. What would  they do? Betray him or follow him? In a way, his agony is not simply the  agony of approaching death. It is also the agony of being out of  control and of having to wait. It is the agony of a God who depends on  us to decide how to live out the divine presence among us. It is the  agony of the God who, in a very mysterious way, allows us to decide how  God will be God. Here we glimpse the mystery of God's incarnation. God became human not only to act among us but also to be the recipient of  our responses.
. . . And that is the mystery of Jesus' love. Jesus in his passion  is the one who waits for our response. Precisely in that waiting the  intensity of his love and God's is revealed to us.
- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Nightline

For some reason, I could not fall asleep last night.  Even though I was planning on waking up at 5:45am to walk and was tired from the day, something kept me up.  For one thing there was a squirrel outside my window, yes a squirrel, that found out it could chirp and was trying out it's lungs all night long.  Second factor was a obese yellow lab with a snoring problem.  After tossing and turning I finally turned on the TV and found Nightline.  There was a story about people preparing for Doomsday.  Apparently, people are taking stock of world events and coming to the understanding that anywhere from a week to a few years out, it's gonna hit the fan and the world is just going to explode. 
I am not convinced. 
Not only am I not convinced but I don't care. 
Here is why.
Since the history of the world, things have been exploding, shifting, flooding and shaking.  I'm sure the dinosaurs had an inkling that something was up one day when they saw the stegosaurus' who attended the Fundamentalist church' shoes there and they were nowhere to be found (awesome dinosaur rapture joke).
 There has always been wars, political leaders who were bullies, governments who have oppressed people, poverty, hang nails, and the list goes on.
What adds to the current frenzy is I suppose nuclear war, radiation spills and twitter.
The same bad stuff is still happening but now it glows in the dark and we hear about it at the speed of sound.
So why am I not concerned? Well, for one thing, I figure, realistically I have a good 60 or so years left in me and with 34 already out of the way, I can totally do what I already did twice again until I meet Jesus...if the world explodes and I meet Him sooner, I just won't have to fill out my tax form next year, big deal!

Another reason I am not concerned about the end of the world is that I now realize that I could go a lot of different ways before Doomsday happens.  I almost died twice yesterday, once while tripping over the dog while holding a sharp object and then again while thinking too hard while trying to do math in my head.  So really, Doomsday would be an easy out compared to the trouble I find myself in without even leaving my house.

The Nightline piece said when a major disaster happens in the USA stores will be out of food within hours and most people will only have a three day supply of food in their house. Three days was also the time limit until Anarchy ensued.
I have about 3 days of food supply in the bottom of my purse alone, so that buys me a few days.  And I own a baseball bat, a headlamp and I have a rosary in my pocket so bring it on civil unrest.
Whatever happens, I'm ready, so if you are concerned, just call me, no wait, the phones will be dead, just come find me and I'll loan you a bat.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Humor Interview - Boston Public Radio


video
Bucket List check:Being interviewed & sounding like a grumpy comic on Boston Public Radio 
Humor Today’s world would be tough to handle without a little humor in our lives. This week, You Are Here reporters tackle the topic of humor in various lights such as standup comedy, political satire, hidden camera work, and commercialized comedy. They also take a look at what can happen when comedy goes a little too far. Interviews include Danny McBride, Lisa Lampanelli, Patton Oswalt, and more professional comedians and actors in the business.
Reporters: Kathryn Barnes, Alyssa Edes, Dillon Rand, Arjun Singh, Emily Files, Maria Spridigliozzi, Stefanie Guarino, and Benjamin Tan

Friday, March 25, 2011

Solemnity



I broke my 7 month Wal-Mart fast on the Solemnity and BOY did it pay off! I love Louisiana.

Free the Monks & Free Enterprise

Interesting video about where I am staying for a few days while speaking at Abbey Fest. Go Monks!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

LA Youth Day 2011

Los Angeles Youth Day - AKA the Arena


The Anaheim Arena holds 7,500 people yet the computer spit out 7,855 tickets for my session at LA Youth Day...the more the merrier!
It was quite the experience to speak to a packed arena and now that it's over I can honestly say that close to 8,000 in the audience is way easier than a room of 7 people who you can hear breathing.
I was blessed to have momma come up and also about 50 teens from my own Parish of St. Francis to be in attendance.
I love having shows close to home, it's always fun to have people in attendance who can bring me back down if I start to think too highly of myself.  Can't wait to leave the state again!

I was also excited to hear and then hug Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author of a great book, Tattoos on the Heart. If you have not read it, try it, you might like it and be inspired to get that tattoo removed!

A great time and now a few days off before heading to Louisiana for some fun down on da Bayou.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Your Dog is Fat

 Chewie was SO glad to see this picture I took on my recent trip through New Orleans.  This is Timmy and he is proof that Chewie is not the fattest yellow lab in the country.  Eating more dog bones won't make up for the fact that your mom kicked you out of the litter Timmy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Santa Rosa, CA

Thanks Santa Rosa! I almost froze to death in wine country but did so with a nice bunch of people. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Newport News, VA


I had a great time in Newport News, VA with 6 pack Jesus painting,the sisters, Fr. Henry and MEP.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Glass is Half Full and Totally on the House

Because of a 2 hour maintenance delay which had me sitting on the run way in San Diego I missed my flight to Norfolk, Virginia where I have a show Saturday night at 5pm.  I landed in Houston at 7:20pm and my flight to Norfolk took off oddly enough at 7:20pm and for some strange reason they didn't hold the plane for me.  So I am forced to spend the night in Houston and take a early flight to Charlotte and then on to Norfolk having me arrive just a few hours before my show.  Am I mad? NO WAY! Do you know why? Because I got to Houston and Big Ennie Hickman rode out to the airport to pick me up and we gathered his lovely wife Darla from a dance hall and we had office chair rides in the street...so no, I'm not mad. 
I'm happy that Jesus takes care of people who love racing office chairs!  I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Boise, Idaho

 
This is all I want to talk about in Boise.  Friends and guns, everything else was just ya know, Boise.


Catholic comedian Judy McDonald finds humor in religion » North by Northwestern

Catholic comedian Judy McDonald finds humor in religion » North by Northwestern

Catholic comedian Judy McDonald finds humor in religion

Photo by Laura Rosenthal / North by Northwestern.

Self-proclaimed “Catholic Comedian” Judy McDonald told her audience the first miracle she ever witnessed was when her food turned from solid to liquid after she ate Cajun food for the first time. Real-life moments like these made up McDonald’s performance, sponsored by Sheil Catholic Center, on her life as a Catholic, The Golden Girls and everything in between.

McDonald performed Tuesday night in Norris McCormick Auditorium and her set poked fun at Catholic stereotypes: pew guilt, confession and a visit to Rome, or what she liked to call “Catholic Disneyland.”

“I hope the people become more confident in expressing who they are,” said Paolelli, co-chair of Sheil’s education committee.

McDonald encouraged the audience to never stop asking questions about their faith before the end of her set.

“The more you know about your faith, the more you understand, the more God delights,” McDonald said.

McDonald sat down with North by Northwestern before her performance at McCormick Auditorium Tuesday night to talk about how she became a comedian and stayed true to herself.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a stand-up comedian?

I grew up watching stand-up comedians like Johnny Carson and all those guys, and I never understood that I could do this for a living until my freshman year [at the University of San Diego] when I went up and did it. I was like, “Oh my gosh. People get paid for this? That’s awesome.” I stayed in school. My parents spent $100,000 on my education, and now I go around being a smart aleck. So, money well spent.

When was the moment you broke into the comedy industry?

It was on my college campus. It was somebody knew somebody who could get me up at The Comedy Store in L.A. I just did it once, and they said, “Come on back.” It was one of those things, I fell into it almost. I didn’t know I could do it. I just kept thinking, “Oh, this is silly. Too bad I can’t do this forever.” Turns out you can. It’s one of those divine things, I think. I think [Jesus] allowed me to discover it and have a passion for it. If you can have a job that you love going to, it’s not a job. It’s a good thing.

You label yourself as the “Catholic Comedian” and explore the humorous side of being Catholic. What does that mean?

My faith is so a part of my life, it just reflects back in my comedy. I observe basically what happens every day. Being Catholic is just funny. I think God has a sense of humor, and I’m just reporting back on what I observe.

Do you find it difficult to make religion funny?

I don’t make fun of religion. I’m making fun of mostly myself. I’m just reporting back on what I struggle with and what I encounter. It’s just taking truth or the actuality of what’s happening and then putting my own spin on it. I’m never really scandalous. It’s just reporting back on the human condition. It’s bound to be funny or sad. We laugh so we don’t cry.

Do you think people who are not Catholic or who are not religious can still relate to your comedy?

I think so. When I started out in the clubs, at The Comedy Store and Laugh Factory, I did this kind of humor. It’s just observational. Laughter, I think, is universal. Laughter brings old and young and Muslim and Catholic and everybody together.

What do you think of comedians who make fun of religion or use more vulgar humor in their acts?

They’re going to Hell. No, to each their own. That’s just not the route that I went down because my mom came to all my shows in the beginning. And my mom always said, be careful what you say, somebody always knows your mother. I can’t judge any of them. I just stick with this. This is just what I do, and it seems to work so far. I’m not getting a real job any time soon.

What are you hoping to do next?

Well, you know, just pay my health insurance, basically. Just continue to do this. I don’t really care if I ever get famous famous. I just enjoy getting to make people laugh for a living. That’s pretty cool. And I don’t have to do math.

Do you have any advice for students looking to make a career out of stand-up comedy?

Stay in school. Get that business or medical degree, because you can always be a funny doctor, but you can’t do surgery if you’re just a comedian. They say to be a writer, you must write. So to be a comedian, you must comedian. Keep a journal and start writing down things you think are funny. Just try it out on all your friends until they get annoyed. The only way you’re gonna know if you’re any good at it is if you get up and do it. And you might fall on your face several hundred times, but who cares?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Judy McDonald entertains Catholics in Sturgeon Bay

Written by Eddie O'Neill | For The Compass   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 09:14
Sturgeon Bay — In 2010, Judy McDonald racked up 75,000 frequent flier miles. Doing what? Traveling the country and entertaining crowds young and old with her brand of Catholic comedy.
The 34-year-old California native was at Corpus Christi Church Jan. 29 for a city-wide Catholic comedy night. The event was aimed at raising money for the area's Life Teen program's upcoming summer mission trip.
McDonald kept the crowd of close to 300 people rolling with her comparisons of life in California versus Wisconsin, recollections about her travels around the globe and tales of being Catholic.
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Judy McDonald, a comedian from California who specializes in wholesome comedy, entertains nearly 300 people in Sturgeon Bay Jan. 29. (Eddie O'Neill | For The Compass)

"My comedy is just my observations," McDonald told The Compass. "Since I am Catholic and my faith is an essential part of my life, that's what naturally comes out in my comedy."
She says her career as a standup comedian began in 1994 when she was a freshman at the University of San Diego.
"I went on stage for the first time when a comedian didn't show up for a show and I was hooked. I think at the time I was too young and dumb to know that people are supposed to be scared to do standup. For me, it was a gift to find an outlet or a place to express my voice."
McDonald would go on to do comedy as a side job, performing in clubs and corporate events for more than 10 years. She went full time in 2005. Her numerous performances over the years have included an appearance on the Dennis Miller show, the Weather Channel and opening for widely known comedians such as Paula Poundstone and Mark Curry.
During her days of working out in the comedy clubs she noted that she stood out not because she was more talented but because she was one of the few comedians who kept their material clean.
"My comedy has not changed much in the last 16 years," McDonald said. "If I was an accountant, I would be a Catholic accountant."
Today, the majority of her shows are for Catholic events and audiences around the globe. With her accounts about going to confession to funny stories about visiting Rome, McDonald said that she is certain that performing is her manner of evangelization.
"I honestly believe we are all called to evangelize no matter what our career. I just have comedy as my vehicle to get me there. God used fisherman and tax collectors," she explained. "Why not comedians? Comedy breaks barriers and is a great equalizer. It relaxes people and allows them to be more open to the Good News."
Sarah Gavin, who serves as the Life Teen coordinator for the Sturgeon Bay area, said that that comedy night at Corpus Christi was a success. She was responsible for inviting McDonald to perform. Gavin first learned about McDonald around seven years ago at a Life Teen conference where she was speaking.
"I couldn't get over how funny, yet appropriate she was," recalled Gavin. She spoke with faith and energy and I was drawn to that. So often our world has degrading and nasty humor and Judy proves it's possible to have uplifting humor."
McDonald credits her success as a comedian and entertainer as simply a gift from God. She said that her comedy and having people laugh with her has a bonding effect and it is then that she can begin to share what God is doing in her own life.
"God knew what he was doing when he called me into this ministry. I am constantly receiving more than I give while out on the road," she said. "You could say that the Holy Spirit is my ghost writer. My material is from my life and what I observe and I'm just reporting back. God keeps my material fresh for me."
After more than an hour of non-stop smiles and leaving those in attendance in stiches, McDonald ended the night by thanking the audience for their participation and gave them one last poignant quip.
"I want to thank you and I ask that you continue to support the youth ministry here, because they are the ones who will pick your nursing homes eventually," she noted. "Thank you and good night."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wisconsin

Big week for the mayor of Green Bay, first a photo-op with the President and then with me...wow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

San Francisco

My San Francisco homies...love you G Dog!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Choo Choo

Many people blog from a plane at 33,000 feet in the sky but this is my first attempt at blogging on a train...riveting.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

El Centro, CA

I awoke around 4am Saturday morning and although happy to receive it, the dogs were confused as to why they were eating their breakfast at such an early hour. 
They were because I had to leave the house by 5am to make sure I was at St. Mary Catholic Church in El Centro by 8am for a youth day I was speaking at.  Having never driven to El Centro I wasn't quite sure how long it would take me so I made sure I left in plenty of time. he fact was I had no idea were I was going.  I had asked about 3 different people for directions and had, well, 3 different sets of directions.  The interweb had let me down and had no idea how to get me there either.  Was I dejected? A little.  But I figured if Jesus wanted me there He would get me there.  I was taking that bumper sticker, "God as my co-pilot" to a whole new level.  I drove past Lakeside and up into the mountains, uncharted territory for me alone.
At one point the fog rolled in and I couldn't see a few feet in front of me and then in an instant it would open up again and be clear. The road didn't change, it was just I couldn't see it.  I started to think on my drive how that's how it is in life, we never get to see the whole trip right away we sometimes just see a few feet ahead of us at a time the rest has to do with trust and quality tires.
Before someone calls the shmultz police I will let you know I drove for two and a half hours and found it no problem. I had two talks for about 200 very nice teens and made it home by 3:30pm.  I love my job, even the commute.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Clean Up on Aisles 5, 6 and 7!

Friday at 10:15 a.m., I was sliced and diced to remove another alien from my body and some built up scar tissue.  It was just "minor surgery".  The famous last words of someone not getting "minor surgery".  I got laparoscopy which is way better than getting filleted like a salmon but still, not when you are the fish in question.  So now I am sitting here quietly recovering (my favorite mode to recover) with 3 holes in my belly and the overwhelming urge to crawl out of my skin thanks to the general anesthesia that was pumped through me all because I signed a waiver giving them the high sign to pump away.

To prepare for Friday was quite the adventure the day before.  It involved a jello/broth diet and drinking 2 bottles of this stuff:  Magnesium Citrate, loosely translated meaning the devils spit (grape flavored).

Basically it causes you to have your first miracle; everything solid in your body turns to liquid. Not just once, but thousands of times until your head melts into your toes and you are so happy to show up to surgery you will sign any waiver they put in front of you. Praise God indeed.

So I'm hanging out recuperating and forgetting at times why I am sore until I see the pictures from the hospital they took during surgery (of my innards, not pictures like those infamous Guantanamo Bay photographs with the anesthesiologists thumbs up over my knocked out lifeless body).

I go to do a simple task and then a nice warm feeling comes over me and I have to sit down until I forgot why I got up in the first place.  My mom says I am just warming up for my later years. Maybe she is right,  as long as I don't have to perform any more "miracles" this week I will be fine!