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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Someone sent this to me and I thought you (especially you retirees) might enjoy it. Life can be so dull just sitting around the house all day with nothing exciting happening. Try something! Love and Peace, Cas


Yesterday I was at my local Kroger buying a large bag of Purina dog
chow for my loyal pet, Jake, the Wonder Dog and was in the check-out
line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had an elephant?

So because I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her
that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I
added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital
last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an
intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and
IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way
that it works is, to load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and
simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is
nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it
again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was
now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog
food poisoned me. I told her no, I stopped to Pee on a Fire Hydrant
and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was
Laughing so hard.

Kroger won't let me shop there anymore. Better watch what you ask
retired people. They have all the time in the World to think of crazy
things to say

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I guess that you could say that this is the latest.
I haven't written for a long time. I was shown how to open a blog so I have tried to use this once in a while. I will be leaving here next Thursday. School closes and we all get out next week on the 6th of Dec. I will pay my last respects to my family here in Chicago till the 10th when I will head for Detroit. From there I will go to North Carolina to be with my brother till about the 22nd. Then down to my niece where we will celebrate Christmas together with my 3 nieces, my brothers 3 daughters, Ann, who is the eldest and who is a medical doctor, Barbara who is a top notch Electrical Engineer working for Siemens in Germany and who will come special to join us, and Karla who visited twice in Africa and who is teaching biology at Santa Barbara University in California. On the 26th, I will move over to Atlanta and visit more cousins and on the 28th, I will be on the plane for London to the 29th and from there to Joburg where I will arrive on the on the 30th. I am hoping that a couple will meet me there and will help me to store some of my stuff as I will leave later in the afternoon for Lusaka where I will try to spend a week and renew my old connections. On the 6th I will come back to Joburg and will stay for the weekend with the Selema family (Kabelo and I were colleagues in J&P, where he still works, and his wife works for a pharmaceutical firm but is off at that time. I haven't seen the family for many years now and the kids are pretty well grown up now. Then, on the 8th, I will fly into Mthatha on the morning plane. Wow! what a story.
    Today was my birthday ( I turned 39 and was told not to open the closet door!)
We had a class today to start winding down called "transitions". We had to interview each other and then explain to the whole gang what we learned. I was the beginning of winding down our time together. We became like a family and it will be hard to say goodbye, but then, that is life. It was a beautiful time and I am grateful for those who made it possible for me. As I keep saying over and over again, life is relationships.
     One of the high points has been the chance to reconnect with family. Up till now it has always been hit and run and now I have had a chance to sit for the whole evening and really get into the family affairs so that I feel much closer now and their lives have gotten entangled with mine, which is the way, as I see it, that it should be.
     It's getting late now so I think I will leave it at that for now but keep tuned in for the next exciting episode. Love and Peace, Cas

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day and I am thinking along these lines. Life is relationships. I have been blessed with a family and friends that have made me who I am, except for the bad parts that I have to take responsibility for myself. They have loved me, and cared for me and cried with me and laughed with me and scolded me and encouraged me and have walked with me along some pretty difficult paths. And, tomorrow, when I give thanks, it will be for the gift that they all (all of you)have been to me in my not-so-short life. A friend of long ago, the one who composed '" Easy come, easy go..." also composed another song, one whose verses was " strangers are but friends each day we seek to meet." There are probably some of your out there whom I haven't met (yet). I include you too in my blessings just because you are fellow human being, an as yet un-met brother or sister who also has his/her ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good times and bad times. We are all traveling along together on the same road and when the opportunity arises, hopefully, we will be there to support one another when support is needed.
     I also thank the Lord for the gift of faith. I believe that it is the core, that drives and energizes me. I didn't work for it. I don't deserve it. But, the older I get, the more I appreciate it. Yes, thanks to the many who showed me, in practical ways, the way the cared and helped and were concerned about the hurts and injustices and hypocrisies that went on around them and tried, and continue to try, to make a dent, to plant a seed, to wipe a tear, to do something that is meaningful and a practical application of that faith. That, perhaps, most of all, is what convinced me that I was on the right path. It was a faith that was alive and helped me to come alive too. I am soooo grateful.

     At the same time, I think of the serious sins of this great and marvelous country of ours. Let's now forget to ask forgiveness and resolve not to repeat the sins of selfishness, greed, apathy, arrogance, racist (still) thinking, etc. that have besmirched our otherwise beautiful country. Both our home policy and foreign policy have so often been anti-life. When we give thanks tomorrow, Thanksgiving day, let' not forget to include a plea for forgiveness and a dose of the Spirit commit ourselves to the values of Jesus that will help us to avoid falling into these traps again.
    We remember, in a particular way, all those who are caught in the clutches of drugs or alcoholism, sex slavery, persistent hunger, depression (marriage going down the tubes, can't find a job, total loss of self worth, can't see the light at the end of the tunnel,...) anxiety, fear, whatever, and maybe, especially, loneliness--no one who loves, who cares, no family or friends. I think of my family in Africa and their many hopes and dreams and needs and the very small chance that they will ever be fulfilled. I pray for them and I thank them for showing me, who can opt out at any time, that there is always reason for hope, especially when I see only dark and want to throw in the towel. The don't. They haven't. So, who am I to betray them or let them down when I have so much more going for me. I guess that these are some of the things I think of and will remember when I celebrate Mass tomorrow, a real Mass of thanksgiving. I am awed by the love and blessings that I have been deluged in and I promise you and the Lord that I will try to pass that on to as many others as possible in as many ways as I find open to me. Yes, thanks to you all, and thanks to the Lord, and the Spirit, the giver of life and of love. Cas

Monday, November 19, 2012

You all know how I love eggs. Well a tried and true friend found this on some ecclesiastical website yesterday. Read and enjoy! Cas.

As we become familiar with the new translation of the Roman Missal, those who have responsibility for these matters have obviously decided that the translation has been such a great success that other Catholic literature is also to be re-translated.

I have been lucky enough to see a preview of one of these changes to the Catholic Cookbook:

Graciously pour thine unctuous oil into a singular and worthy vessel until the fullness of heat without smoke-filled aroma ascends to the heavens; and with thy worthy and venerable hands take one egg and gently and delicately break into the warmed fruit of the olive, being careful that the yoke and albumin do not become consubstantial; when, in the fullness of time, this product which you have already begun to make has fulfilled its purpose, ensure that this produce, this spotless produce, this delightful produce, this tasty produce, has become acceptable in God's sight, pleasingly remove it from the pan, sprinkle condiments on it like the dewfall, that it may make manifest his goodness that is vouchsafed to it; may it be found acceptable in his sight and be borne to a place of refreshment at thy table where it may nourish thy spirit; for extra manifestations, please use prevenient oil.

And because it is good to compare with the 1970's translation:

Heat oil in a pan.   Break an egg into the oil.   Fry until cooked.   Remove the egg from the pan and serve.

I am sure you'll agree that the new translation is much better than the old!!!!???

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I took my aunt Rose (94 yrs. young) up to see her young (92yrs. young) brother who has been in the hospital with a blood clot in the lung and showing blood in his urine. He was not really up to snuff but he and Rose had a long chat and I also promised, if I can find another suitcase big enough, to take him back to Africa with me. He was cheerful but weak and was happy that the priest had come and given him communion and " the last rites". Kind of scary, that.
    but here is the email I got from my cousin who lives close enough to the assisted living home to see him more often than others.

Hi Cas,

I spent 45 minutes with John this morning.  He is improved.  The nurse said he ate about half of his breakfast.  I brought him some small mints, and he ate one. Where yesterday he seemed very cold, today he was comfortable, covered only by a sheet.  He said yesterday he had a lot of stomach pain but that the nurse brought him something for it.  Today, he said he feels no stomach pain.

He didn't complain or talk about going back to his flat.   He talked about talking to God and that it seemed to make him feel better.  And then he said he spent a lot of time thinking about how it happens and concluded that God must be in some kind of radio wave that connects to everything, typical of some of his mental ruminations that he's told me about over the months that I've gotten to know him.  He relates to the machinery of the world like the engineer he was.  He talked about his dad, our grandfather as a source of inspiration for him, and of himself and my dad as maybe the beneficiaries of Grandpa's ceaseless prayers!  Those boys must have required a lot of prayer space!

For now, he seems at peace but not at death's door.  That's a good trick for anybody to pull off!

I'll probably go see him again on Monday.

Take care .


   Uncle John says thanks for all of your prayers. Love and Peace Cas/

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Everyone,
      As you may have heard, Uncle Johnny was transferred to a more Catholic and better equipped facility called St. Anne's in Milwaukee last week. The idea was that when his own resources ran out, Medicaid would automatically kick in where he was then at. Otherwise, although the charges were a bit less at the previous place, he would have to remain there when his own funds ran out. (Medicare ran out long ago.)
    Thanks to Uncle Casey and David, his son, they managed to organize things so that all this could happen.
However, the latest news is that Johnny is in St. Joseph hospital now. The doctors says that he has a blood clot in his lung and there is blood in the urine. He also suffers from acute dementia. He seemed to hint that there wasn't much time left, although, when Casey and David visited him, he seemed to be as feisty as usual.
     I was thinking to cancel my class for Friday morning and take Aunt Rose up to see him, hoping that there is still time for that.
     Please pray for him and let others know so that they can add the power of their prayers to his and ours. Uncle Johnny is almost 92 yrs. old and there is not much quality of life for him right now. Perhaps we can pray, that if it is God's will, God can get a place ready for a guy who was probably one of most honest, hard-working guys we ever knew. He was always generous in helping others and was loved and respected by all those he worked for, so I am pretty sure that he'll get some pretty good accommodation up there.
     Many thanks.  Love and Peace, Cas

PS. Maybe there is a reason for me having this sabbatical in Chicago just at this time in the history of our family! What do you think?

PPS. For those of you not in the know, Uncle Johnny was one of the 7 brothers and 6 sisters that my mom had. Only three are still alive: Rose, who is 94 and still very active; Johnny, who is not so well off right now and is going on 92; and Casey (Casimir--whose name I took because I like him--he was closest to me in age of all my uncles) who is the youngest, 86 going on 87yrs. He is the one that has been tasked with taking care of Uncle Johnny's affairs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

As you can see, I am learning, bit by bit. My friend, Terry McCann is helping me. I have other things to do but I think that it is worthwhile to invest a fair amount of time in learning these new means of communication,
    I have a request for prayers: A friend who is about 85 yrs. old who is going for surgery on Nov. 21, who will have a good (meaning, bad)  portion of her intestines removed. She is uneasy about that. Another friend's daughter, Darrilyn, is suffering from multiple types of cancer and is still very young. A very dear friend in Mthatha is in the hospital, comatose, cerebral meningitis. Another cousin, Kathy, is recuperating from a broken hip. Another cousin must be on oxygen 24/7 because her capillaries don't take in oxygen any more. It is as I said, everyone has a story, and there are many more. I keep all of you in my prayers every, yes, as in every, day. You are all my lifeline.
    Time is also winding down now; only three weeks left of school and then preparing for re-entry into my African home and family. Holy Moses, what happened to the time.
     As I said before, I probably won't answer your responses to this blog. It is just to keep you in the picture. But, if you want to make a contact, you can email me and I promise an answer (within a reasonable time.)  the email address is:  Love and peace, Cas

PS  I also owe big thanks to Sr. Anne Flannigan for getting me started (patiently) with the opening of this blog.