Sunday, December 26, 2010

"May you see your children's children"

A blessing fulfilled!

Philip Edward Turner, born December 26, 2010.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

The Lawler Family Yearbook, 2010 edition!

Editor's Note:

Some of you may have already received (or soon will) this "Yearbook" in the mail.

So what's here may seem familiar, but some of it will be new, because I started this post last year before I gave up, and then forgot about it when I did the hard version; and also because here I have more space for quotes, and, of course, pictures.

I want the record to show what the kitchen looks like while we are making gingerbread houses. Christmas 2008.

You see, I'm catching you up on two years’ worth of news or news-like thoughts, since I was unable to send out a yearbook in 2009, due to news overload.

Bridget on her way to visit Rosie and Suzanne in DC in the winter of '09. By herself!

Bridget's dancing days are behind her, but they are a good memory.

Anyway, I will tell you now that we not only had the wedding of Rosie to Marine Lt. Philip Turner on July 4, 2009, but also the wedding of Nick to Natasha Sarkisian (no rank other than delightful) on August 29, 2009.

Both were great occasions of rejoicing. If you would like to see more pictures, also visit Like Mother, Like Daughter (where you can click on the “weddings” category).

Yard work in the aftermath of the ice storm of 2008. What a mess was left. Here are some particularly diligent workers.

Sadly, Phil’s mother, Mary Alberta Lawler, passed away peacefully on July 17, 2009 after a full life. She was 93.

May God rest her soul. We miss her and Grandpa very much!

We visited Virginia in the spring of 2009, and stayed by the Shenandoah River.

On St. Patrick’s Day of this year, in the midst of our second epic battle with floodwaters that were ultimately only conquered by the fire department’s intervention with extra pumps and a convict gang to sandbag our yard, I got a phone call informing me that we had won “the raffle” – a trip to Ireland!

That staggered me, in that I had no recollection of buying any ticket. Come to find out that Phil had bought one to help a friend and promptly forgotten about it or to tell me!
Last month my mother, Elizabeth (Habou), went in for some tests at the hospital. In a surprising development for someone who enjoys good health and an active life, she ended up having a triple bypass! Thanks be to God, she’s doing amazingly well and no one who looks at her can believe she underwent open-heart surgery so recently.

And now we look forward to the arrival of our first grandchild! God is very good indeed.
Please keep in touch, come visit, and pray for us – we pray for you!
With much love, we send every Christmas blessing to you!  Phil, Leila, and Family

Alumni Corner *NEW!*

Here is where I will tell you my impressions of what our faraway children are doing. I have not been able to fit them into the yearbook structure for a while now, and choose to give up the pretense of doing so by simply filling you in on their whereabouts and doings.

Nick: Along with Natasha, has taken up residence in Hong Kong, somewhere so far away that it’s often a completely different day there. I think that he spends a lot of time going to other faraway places and rounding up businesses to invest in for people who do that sort of thing, and if you do, Asia is where you have to do it. If you want to get to know Natasha, go to her blog, Hong Kong Housewife, where your education will be complete as well as amusing.

Rosie: Along with Philip, has taken up residence in southern California at Camp Pendleton, which would have seemed far away to me scant months ago (before the above couple upped the ante with their move) but which now feels downright cozily at hand. By the time you read this she will have all but completed their project, a new little Turner, due around December 30! She would like to point out that she and Sukie said many funny things in the past two years. Don’t be misled by the dearth of quotes from them below.

Suzanne: Teaching music and literature to children at St. Michael’s in Annandale, Virginia, and controlling her classes with the power of her eyebrows. Often Sukie is to be found trying to convince friends that contra dancing is fun, and hosting parties that include season-specific beers and fabulous pastries. This past summer she visited Toronto, where she successfully married off her god daughter despite the best efforts of political protesters to ruin everything; also Oceanside, CA, where it rained. She was visiting Rosie, whom she also successfully married off the year before. That was an even more impressive feat, as the enemy was not the G20 but Rosie’s bout with mono, which lasted the five weeks up to the wedding. Sukie graduated from George Washington in 2009. Please go here for her senior composition, which is amazing.

Joseph: Also living in Northern Virginia, where he resists Sukie’s contra dancing imprecations. Joseph is managing editor of The American Spectator and thinking about heading elsewhere for graduate studies in economics. Can conservative politics survive without his incisive guidance? I doubt it. Joseph gave a rousing toast at Nick’s wedding that will not soon be forgotten for its hilarity, viz, “It's a tall order to toast Nick, because as those of you who are familiar with us Lawler brothers know, it's hard to think of something nice to say about us that we haven't already said about ourselves.”

Fiddle concert, Advent 2009

Bridget, going on 14, Homeschool, 9th grade

In 2009-2010, Bridget Loved: being a bridesmaid twice; getting a puppy; traveling to Ireland and playing fiddle and dancing in a pub --strong moves for a shy person!
Most Likely to: Surprise herself by learning a Natalie MacMaster fiddle tune by ear.
Hated: Leaving beautiful Dingle where we were graciously invited by our friends the Mitchells. When her kindred spirit, Marguerite, happily agreed to come with us for a few days back to County Clare and beyond, Bridget wondered “why anyone would leave such a lovely place to go with us. I would never leave.”
She also hated when the power came back on after the great ice storm of 2008. I know that should have been in last year's yearbook, but she really hated it, and spent a lot of 2009 talking about how she wishes there would be another ice storm and a much longer power outage.
Recommends: Living on a hillside in Connemara, which she loved for its desolate beauty.

Mom, Will, and Bridget are watching Man vs. Wild on TV. Apparently I’m asking too many questions.
Bridget: “Mom, there’s just no good way to watch this show with you.”

Bridget: “What degree of casual-ty is this party?”

Bridget: “How many e’s are there in lemon?”
Deirdre: “One, or else it would be ‘lemeen’.”
Bridget: “No, that would be ‘leemon’. [Long pause.] But what I wanted to know was how many l’s there are in melon.”

Bridget: "Then she bites me." [Talking about the puppy.]
Mom: "Then you PUNCH her!"
Bridget: "But then she just thinks I'm playing."
Mom: "That's because you don't punch her hard enough."

Jojo: "Bridget, for a Lawler, your eyebrow control is disgraceful."
Bridget: "I know. I work on it every time I'm in front of the mirror."

Will's graduation on an intensely hot May day.

William: 19, Sophomore at Villanova

Loved: Being a groomsman in Nick’s wedding; going to college where he specializes in extracurriculars “where they screen for out-goingness.”
Most likely to: Become a beach bum in Hawaii, where he was treated to a lovely vacation by friends this summer; take Nick up on a ridiculous bet.
Hated: Saying goodbye to his friends to go off to college the first year.
Recommends: Checking twice regarding time, day, and airport when traveling. Ahem.

Will: Oh my goodness. I can't wait to never ever go there again. (About a certain job venue...)

Seeing if a vintage gown from Grandma's extensive collection would work for a bridesmaid's dress. Not really, but isn't it beautiful?
Starting on the wild decorations for Rosie's wedding.

Deirdre: 22, Senior at Catholic University of America

Loved: Her six weeks in France. Also being the resident Bollywood choreographer at the Notre Dame and ISI summer philosophy programs in 2009, not to mention the weddings.
Most likely to: Rope the occasional university bigwig into attending Students for Life events, of which group she’s president this year.
Hated: Leaving Isches, the tiny French village where she was a guest of friends (and where residents draw their drinking water from a central fountain!).
Often: Wishes she could indulge Sukie in her quest for dancing.
Looking Forward To: Being done with riding shotgun in ambulances during midterms, or just generally sitting up in ERs late at night; also 2am rounds after three years as the world’s most committed RA.

We do not recommend that you contract mono in the five weeks preceding your wedding. This is how Mom has to feed you.

Wedding #1.

Habou: "I'm gonna be a saint, in spite of all the other Catholics in the world."

Mom: "It was a fraud. That reminds me, I haven't talked to Jojo in so long."

Our one trip to the beach in 2009 that I can remember. We got to Rockport just as the sun went behind the clouds...

Bridget: "I'm having some trouble with this thing."
Will: "You need to call someone older and bigger and smarter over to help you."
Bridget: "You're older and bigger."

Thanksgiving 2009:
Mom: "These are whiskey yams!"
Bridget: "So, we're hicks?"
Mom: "No! It's expensive whiskey."
Bridget: "So, we're rich hicks."

Habou: "I need more stuff to eat with my wine!"

Pop [to Bridget]: “The truth is, you're brave and you don't know it.” [Short and profound pause]
Pop: “Which means that you're stupid.”

 Phil: “Europeans don’t get much done. They did a lot in the last few centuries and they’re taking this millennium off.”

Wedding #2.

The view as we arrived at Nick and Natasha's reception.

Habou: “Well if I'm going to cook, I'll need cooking wine.”
Will: “To cook what?”
Habou: “Just to drink while I'm cooking.”

Habou: “Sure. Go ahead and make fun of me. You'll see what happens.”
Will: “Habou, you taught me to play poker, mix drinks, and swear. I'm not gonna make fun of you.”

Will: “Geez! Who's it for, the Pope? What is it, the new currency?”

Mom: “Will, are you going to watch this [educational documentary] movie with Deirdre?”
Will: “No.”
Mom: “The answer is yes.”

Well, if everyone is going to leave, then Bridget needs a puppy!

Bridget with Phil's old typewriter!
For whatever reason this is the only picture I have of Christmas 2009. Count the computers in this room alone!

Deirdre: “Why do you do that?”
Pop: “What?”
Deirdre: “Lie.”
Pop: “It's just so much fun. There are three kinds of fun. Good, clean fun; lying; and wanton destruction.”

Bridget: "I just seems like people want us to feel guilty about the dinosaurs: 'Look what we did!!'

Question: How do you mow around the bees? Answer: Very carefully.

Pop: "What do you, Will?"
Will: "I'm trying to decide what to eat for breakfast."
Pop: "Don't burn yourself out."

Physicists: comment on why the frisbee appears square.

This is the one picture of all of us in Ireland. I think we were pretty tired at this point, and hadn't quite had breakfast yet, so don't judge....

Rosie: “I have the rings! I need to give them to someone to take care of them.”
Jojo: “I'll take them. I'm like the Frodo Baggins of this family; I get the rings where they need to go.”

Will: “Rosie's like, 'I'mmmm not sure; I'm not making any promises!'”
Deirdre: “Haha, except for the VOWS she's making on Saturday. Rosie, are you prepared to make vows?”
Will: “Well, vows are more like suggestions, anyway. A vow is like a yield sign.”

Our French friend Mailys visited this August. Here we are at the top of Mount Wachusett with Boston in the background, although you can't see it.


Deirdre: "Boys, on a scale from plain to glorious, how does Rosie look right now? Her hair, notably, and her jewelry."
[pause. Rosie straightens up expectantly]
Jojo: "Scrum-prilescent."
Will: "I was going to say the personification of Wedding."

Bridget stretched way out of her comfort zone and played soccer this fall! Confound the World Cup, she says, for tricking her into wanting to do it! She is #86.

Sukie: "I have something to say about this wedding: we are going to dance all night long."
Jojo: "Not necessarily."

Note baby bump lurking in there ;)

Phil cooking "Bachelor Swill" on his 60th birthday, because he's a good guy and we were running around.

Will (in Villanova sweatshirt and green shorts) and Joseph (back to us) as quarterbacks of their respective teams in the Thanksgiving Day Classic flag football game at the Abbey. Note the monk in the center, ready for action.


Habou: "I have to say, I'm relieved that Manny is gone. Because I just hated seeing him come up every time in that filthy, filthy, dirty hat."

Will: "You know what Mom, you just lost your tractor privileges."
Mom: [Panicking.] "No I didn't! You know what, you just lost living here!"

Jojo: "If you want an itchy head and a burning mouth, then this is the condiment for you."

Will: “That's because you have a badonkadonk.”
Mom: [reproachfully] “So do I!”
Will: “Mom, do you know what that means?”
Mom: “…”
Will: “It means you have a huge [behind].”
Mom: “Oh, I thought you meant a big cellphone.”

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Leila turns 50, you might as well you forgive the giant FAIL she has perpetrated.

Yes, you might as well know...since it's all over the interwebs already.

And I admit to a significant FAIL, in that this is not my Christmas -- or Candlemas -- or Lent -- or even Pentecost yearbook/newsletter... you know, the one I promised you!

What can I say. Despite my best efforts, I have been dragged into a new era in which I no longer have focused assistants, ready and able to devote their creative abilities to help me get things like a yearbook done.

I have to figure out a new way to bring you the year's news -- other than via blog, with pictures, which keeps you up to date -- no, make that TWO blogs!! Not sure what you're complaining about...oh, you mean the "overheards"? Yeah, I don't have assistants taking notes on the hilarious and witty things said around here, either....

Instead, these amazingly creative, intense, and driven people got together and gave me a birthday bash. It lasted all weekend.

So for now, you might as well enjoy the lovely party...I'll show you in pictures, okay?

Last-minute frosting of cakes is a tradition in these parts!
If we're not at the party, we're frosting the cake!

I want you to see the goodness concealed in there:

That would be layers of lemon curd alternated with whipped cream, oh yeah.

The idea was to have a tea party at which one wore hats, pearls, and even gloves....

It never hurts for the hostess, the warm, welcoming Nancy Bell, to have a beautiful 18th century tavern with glorious grounds, setting off the lovely ladies to wonderful effect.

 Deirdre and Natasha adorn themselves with the youngest party-goers.

Someone makes darned sure she samples everything!

 I don't know if you can see the bird on Habou's hat:

I love how many sweet girls joined us! Bridget is on the left with the big pink flower!

 Natasha, above...and Sukie, below...


I didn't know anything about any of this until a couple of weeks before (when I found myself wondering why my name was on someone's wedding invitation, so elegant was what I received in the mail).

They all (except Philip, Rosie's husband, who had to hold Fort Sill together in Rosie's absence) converged. The day after the party Habou made me a wonderful family shish-kebab dinner for the family.

It was a birthday-bash-reunion!

We had delicious baba-ghanoush...

Wonderful lamb-kebabs...

Leftover desserts...

No picture of us all together, of course. Sigh.

I had a lovely weekend. How delightful to see everyone unexpectedly (well, I had about two weeks' warning)! What a blessing!

Here you see Will playing with my birthday present, which promises to do everything for me...except get them in one place for a picture.