Sunday, May 31, 2009

A "Fiddler on the Roof"


My wife and I are leaving this afternoon for New York City to celebrate twenty years together. Since I am in a New York state of mind, I have been thinking about some of the great musicals I have come to know and love over the years. While in high school (the famous Depew High School, known far and wide for...for...well, known far and wide) I was a bit of a song-and-dance man, landing roles in three musicals. Believing that I was somewhat of a Nathan Lane, I often thought "If I can make it there I'll make it anywhere". Unfortunately, I was not referring to New York, but rather the humble village founded by Frenchman Chauncy Depew. Equally unfortunate, not a bit of it rang true. My musical career came to a crashing, humiliating halt in a botched dance audition for "West Side Story" at the University at Buffalo, in which I made a consummate ass of myself before my peers (to the wicked delight of my lovely girlfriend, whom I later married and will be taking to the big Apple today). Needless to say, Broadway has not missed me.

Lately, I have been thinking in particular about a musical that has been one of my perennial favorites, "Fiddler on the Roof". Specifically, I have considered Tevye, the beleaguered leading character who suffers through hardships such as a nagging wife, a lame horse, poverty, and daughters who are intent on bucking tradition and following their own way. Luckily I don't have a lame horse...OR a nagging wife...but troubles do come to all of us, difficulties that can drain our energy and sap our enthusiasm; hardships that pull us into sadness, loneliness, and despair. The death of a loved one; friends who betray; marriage struggles and wayward children; financial difficulties; poor health and suffering family members...all these and more can cause us to drift from our faith, our ability to truly believe that our God loves us and deeply cares for us.

Tevye, in a particularly challenging moment, utters to God, "Wouldn't NOW be a good time?", asking if the Lord's coming could be made a bit more imminent. Sometimes I feel that way; when things really get to me, when I feel defeated and broken, and really can't understand why God would allow it, I wonder if now wouldn't be a good time. Life is hard.

This past week we prayed a novena to the Holy Spirit as a Church. Today we celebrate His coming to the Apostles and Mary on Pentecost. Through the novena we recalled the suffering of those awaiting the Holy Spirit that was promised by Jesus; they hid in fear; they feared for their lives and the lives of their families. They raised their hopes to heaven, and wondered if their faith would persevere and be vindicated. Their hearts were heavy. And then Pentecost came. On that holy day the Spirit of the living God came to ordinary men and women and filled them with love, strength, and power. The Church was born on that day, and thousands were converted to the faith. Over the centuries that number has swelled to billions. At that wonderful beginning the apostles preached in languages from throughout the world, and the power of God was with them.

Even with all that, even with the power of God given freely through the Holy Spirit, and the enormous successes of the evangelists, those who received the Spirit on that day did not escape suffering. Many were martyred. The Jewish leaders hunted them down. They were beaten and flogged. But through it all they persevered, because they had the Holy Spirit to sustain them, strengthen them, and lift them from fear and despair. Today we celebrate that moment, that gift given to us. And no matter what we face, no matter how much we suffer, no matter how many hurt us or turn their backs on us, no matter what hardships we must endure, the God who loves us so very much will hold us close. He promised that centuries ago. And he makes the same promise to you and me, right here, right now.

Come, Holy Spirit. Come.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ahem...


I saw this sign in Erie, PA today and thought I'd share it with you. This is not a joke. Well, not on purpose anyway.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I did it!


I just spent the last three days in Cedar Point with the eighth grade class at Our Lady of Hope School (all two boys!) and I rode on alot of roller coasters. I want to point out in particular my bravery in conquering the Top Thrill Dragster: over 400 feet tall, this beauty took the wind out of me. Glad to be home, but boy oh boy we had fun!

Thank you Joey, Jacob, and Mr. Dave for three days of thrills, chills and fun!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Gift of Fortitude



If I were King of the Forest, Not queen, not duke, not prince.
My regal robes of the forest, would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.
I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl.
With a woof and a woof and a royal growl - woof.
As I'd click my heel, all the trees would kneel.
And the mountains bow and the bulls kowtow. And the sparrow would take wing - If I - If I - were King!
Each rabbit would show respect to me. The chipmunks
genuflect to me.
Though my tail would lash, I would show compash
For every underling!
If I - If I - were King!
Just King!
Monarch of all
I survey -- Mo--na-a-a--a-arch Of all I survey!



Several years ago in seminary a few friends and I got into a rousing discussion on the moral and philosophical meanings of the Wizard of Oz. Much time has passed and I don’t recall very much (not simply but probably in part because we were enjoying adult beverages at far too early an age). I do recollect the reflection of one of my classmates on the dilemma of the Cowardly Lion, though. “His problem wasn’t that he lacked the characteristics of a fearless lion. He didn’t just need to be brave or careless in the face of fearful things or walk around growling at everyone. The great lacking in him was that he was meant to be a king, and he was too afraid to be it.”
I have pondered that conclusion several times since that evening of cocktails and conversation. I believe my friend was correct in his estimation of the Cowardly Lion, and though I have not studied the author’s interpretation of his character, I suspect we hit the nail on the head. He was meant to be a king, and he was too afraid to be it.

When I left the seminary some time later a wise and insightful priest who had supported me through my discernment sent me a letter wishing me well and offering his continued prayers. In his letter he wrote, “I have no doubt that you will succeed in whatever you endeavor to do, for God has given you many gifts”. I was flattered, but the words did not flesh themselves out over the ensuing years. I took a job as a paint mixer in a home-improvement store, then as a paper-stacker in a small printing firm. I drifted away from my faith and settled into spiritual mediocrity. My new wife and I struggled in our marriage over finances and responsibilities as we attempted to live a sacramental marriage without comprehension of its sacramentality.

God is patient, thankfully, and he waited for me. He waits for all of us to wake up from our spiritual slumber, and sends us little spiritual “alarm clocks” to rouse us from sleep. Often we ignore them. We roll over in our comfy little beds and press the “snooze” button for a little more time. There are many distractions and enticements that lead us into deeper and deeper sleep: materialism, sports fanaticism and gambling, pornography, alcohol and drugs, etc. But most often indifference and apathy keeps us in bed. It is easier to do nothing. Besides, sticking out your neck is like asking for someone to chop off your head…but God makes clear His stance on the sleeper:

"I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were
either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will
spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:15-16

Like the Cowardly Lion, we have a calling. He was meant to be the King of the Forest, yet feared the role immensely. By virtue of our Baptism we are called to be priest, prophet and king. No, that doesn’t mean we should all be priests, stand on the corner and preach like a sidewalk prophet, or aspire to crimson robes and crowns. What does it mean? We share in the priesthood of Jesus by putting the faith we have been given in its proper primary perspective. We are prophets by living our lives in such a way that our actions and example point to a loving God. And we are kings because we have been promised a place in God’s Kingdom. We are His heirs. It is ours to choose or refuse. And, incidentally, sleeping is considered a refusal.

What are we called to be? A loving and supportive parent? A teacher and example to others? A compassionate caregiver? A defender of the weak and defenseless? A wise and kind leader? A faithful and uplifting spouse? Only God knows, and He’s more than willing to share. He has given us talents and gifts to be the best we can be, fully human, fully alive, and full of the Holy Spirit. We just need to be brave enough to use them.

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the Gift of Fortitude. Keep us from fear and obstacles that lead us to mediocrity and inaction. Rouse us from our spiritual slumber and give us the courage to take our place as the heirs and children in the Kingdom of our loving God.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Gift of Piety


Children are my blessing and my cross.

That may sound harsh, but any mom or dad with more than a few minutes of experience knows the dichotomy of parenting; there are seasons of triumph and defeat, pride and disappointment, pleasure and pain. For some, the pain of parenthood is all too real as they watch their children lose their faith, succumb to drugs and alcohol, lead promiscuous lifestyles, and make mistake after disastrous mistake. Others witness the suffering of illness, disability and death. The dominant culture lures our children away from good and holy pursuits, glamorizes materialism and scorns faith. As has been repeated oft, 'tis a tough time to be a kid...or a parent, for that matter.

My experience continues to evolve as each of my children struggles in the universal march to adulthood. Yet the reality of parenting is that most days are fairly mundane, and most challenges are simply irritations and expressions of frustration and impatience. Each age group brings its challenges: babies cry. And poop. Toddlers make messes and break things. Pre-adolescent and adolescent children argue, whine and make general nuisances of themselves. Teenagers attempt to kill us all with their shenanigans. Young adults and adult children make monumental errors in judgment. It is daunting, but a huge percentage of the difficulties of child-rearing can be answered with patience, love and understanding. That isn't always easy. A wise Jesuit once told me that we are all prone to sin when experiencing the following conditions expressed as the acronym "HALT": hungry, angry, lonely, tired. I can't speak for all parents, but aren't most of us experiencing one or more of those on a regular basis?

It would have been helpful for God to have provided an owner's manual for each of our children. Nonetheless, we are, for the most part, on our own. I say for the most part because we will find some in our journey who can share the wisdom of their experience as parents. We have the written example of generations of parents in the Bible to study. The Church provides countless spiritual aids as well as examples of parenting among Saints who went by the name "mom" or "dad".

My experience is probably typical to many, though with nine children, multiplied a bit. I struggle with the educationally unambitious son, the "sneaky" teen, the skeptic, the anti-authority adolescent, the irresponsible young adult. My life is also challenged by the demanding toddler, the tantrum-throwing kindergartner, and the brooding middle-schooler. Yet, despite these challenges, irritations, and shortcomings, they are simply beautiful. Each is a precious gift, a pearl of great price. They swell my heart with pride and bring tears of love and affection to my eyes. They are mine.

God looks at us that way. We are His pearl of great price. We are precious in His sight, and bring joy to His heart. Unlike ourselves, with Him there is no impatience, no irritation, no moments of disappointment or disgust. He loves us unconditionally, wholly, and without reservation. Like our children, though, we continually test our relationship with Him by sinning. We show disrespect by taking our faith for granted. We ignore the teachings and wisdom of the Church He has given us. We use His name in vain. We abuse our bodies and squander our gifts. We fail to love our neighbor and do not see Him in the face of our brother. We think only of our own needs and wants. We act like spoiled, rotten little children.

Despite all of that, our Father in Heaven cannot be moved: He loves us. He calls us to Himself. He longs for our presence and desires for us to return His love. He is patient and willing to wait for us to grow up. He is the perfect parent.

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the Gift of Piety. Let us love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Let us honor and revere the Church He has given to us. Let us see His presence in the souls of our brother. Let us try, in our broken, halting, childish, and imperfect way, to be more like Him. For He is our Father, and He loves us.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Gift of Fear


For twenty years I have been a faithful husband. I love my wife with all my heart and soul, and yet, as those of you who are or have been married know, the journey is not always splayed with rose petals. Many days there is a sense of utilitarianism; who's turn is it to drive the children to their appointments? Who will make dinner? Which bills get pain first? Routine, as in any way of life, seemingly takes over: off to work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, disciplining children, and the list goes on. Sometimes we don't get get along at all, perceive slights and hurts both real and imaginary, and are just plain cranky. And yet, year after year, we are faithful to one another, seek each other's opinion and support, and rely on one another for our well-being...and occasionally, every once in a while, we sneak away from the children, go out for a nice dinner or a show, and really enjoy one another. Special moments like these are a reward for our faithfulness to one another.

Faithfulness is something to be worked at. It isn't just "not cheating", but includes an array of actions and a state of mind. As a nurse I work primarily with women, a reality not unnoticed by my wife at times. She has often expressed her concern that a "pretty young nurse" might take me away. There is little chance of that; I am quite certain there is nary a nurse at the hospital thinking, "Ooooh, nine kids...what a catch! I'm going to steal him away and work until I drop dead to pay his child support!" But the real reason it won't happen is because I love her too much to allow it to happen. Do I notice other women? Dyin' if I'm lyin'. But there is only one woman given to me by God that I have been given the responsibility of loving, cherishing, supporting and encouraging. I will not jeopardize that.

My relationship with other women requires vigilance. I won't put myself in a position where I am tempted. I will not put myself in a position where there could be misinterpretation or scandal. I don't ever want the woman God gave to me to believe that anyone is before her. She means too much to me, and the thought of hurting her or weakening our relationship is anathema to me.

Fear of the Lord is like that. Much of our relationship with God is pretty mundane...reading, prayer, Mass, etc. At times of dryness it may even seem routine, and our desire for excitement may make us lax. But faithfulness, as in marriage, calls us to rise above. It calls us to continue the work of relationship, to be faithful to prayer and dialogue, and to continue to reach out. And like marriage, every once in a while our God sneaks us away and lets us know how much he really loves us. That, too, is a gift of faithfulness. Fear of the Lord is a gift that impels us, in periods of routine and dryness, to be faithful in prayer for the same reason I am faithful to my wife: I don't ever want the God who made me to believe anyone is before Him. He means too much to me, and the thought of hurting Him or weakening our relationship is, once again, anathema to me.

Holy Spirit, give us the gift of Fear of the Lord. Make us faithful.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Nine days of prayer...


This Thursday, May 21st the Church will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. From Friday, May 22nd to Saturday, May 30th I will join countless others who will be praying a Novena to the Holy Spirit. It is the oldest Novena in the Church, and was instituted by Christ when he sent his disciples to Jerusalem to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit, culminating on Pentecost Sunday. Here is a link to the EWTN Holy Spirit Novena I will be following; if you would like to join me, add it to your fav's:


I plan on having a little reflection each day posted in the blog, and invite your insight as well. Consider yourself invited!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I have two hundred and fifty dollars!


Spring is a season of celebration. Easter, Mother's and Father's Days, graduations, First Holy Communions, and the list goes on. The Marciniak household is particularly busy this time of year; eight out of eleven birthdays are in March, April and May (apparently we are seasonal breeders). It seems that with nine children someone is reaching some kind of milestone each spring. 2009 is no exception: Michelle and I are marking twenty years of marriage, Jacob's eighth grade graduation approaches, Joseph's First Holy Communion is just two weeks away, and the usual cavalcade of birthdays all await. Join me in thanking the Lord for tax returns.

As we prepare to invite family members from far and wide to celebrate at the Marciniak mansion my yearly obsession kicks in to high gear: the gardens. I graduated from the Norbert Marciniak School of Gardening (my dear old dad), and there are three basic tenets: first, make it BIG and FLASHY. Second, jam as many plants in as you can. Third, the gardens absolutely MUST look better than any other poor sap's within a twenty-mile radius. With these guiding principles I begin my quest for horticultural perfection year after year.

The wife and kids are roped in early, though the older children have devised devious and dastardly schemes to avoid hauling mulch and preparing fertilizer. Excuses like "I have homework", or "I have to study for my exams", or "I have a fever of 103"...yeah, well, prove it. Otherwise get me a spade and start spreading peat moss. Every morning my wife dutifully waters the new plants, a task that can take upwards of an hour or more. The toddlers look longingly out the windows, mouthing something about eating; there is no time for frivolity. The begonias shall not be denied. Nights fly by as I lie awake trying to devise new color themes and consider how I can siphon more out of the budget to buy a few more clematis vines. Sketches and plans are strewn about the dining room table, and trips to Home Depot become sources of marital strife. But the work continues, and as time shortens my anxiety grows faster than my petunias.

Finally, each year, the day comes, the celebrations begin, and the gardens look nothing less than stunning. I get a smattering of compliments, offer tours and identify particular specimens for those who probably were only asking to be polite, and try to steer the conversation to flowers when I can.

Three months later I cut it all down and put the remains at the curb.

It's a lot of work for a day or two of parties. Each fall as I look at the browning leaves and dying stems I wonder if it is worth all the effort. It seems to be such a distraction. Years have gone by where instead of contemplating my children's events I am thinking about whether impatiens or marigolds would look good in the porch pots. It seems as though the older I get the more I want to dwell on the garden of my family than the flower beds. Isn't that really what is most important?

Today at Mass I was reminded of the joy of celebration. Just before Father sent us on our way, he honored several in our congregation: our community's founders, Amy and Norm, earned honorary Doctorates in Human Letters the day before at the Canisius College commencement. Tiffany was recognized by Holy Angels Academy for her honors-level performance. Will graduated from Franciscan University. Teresa graduated from D'Youville. Charlotte turned three years old. With each announcement we clapped and smiled and reveled in the moment, cherishing the love we share as a community of believers. But the very last one really got us on our feet.

Reba has been coming to St. Luke's for years. She has had a rough life, to say the least. As the ravages of bodily abuse take their toll she is slowly losing her ability to think and comprehend. Her attention span is shrinking, and she often paces up and down the aisle during Mass. Her hearing is poor, so when she speaks it is boisterous. The Mission has provided for her well being for many years, and she has been faithful. As Father went through the list of celebrations, her excitement grew; she clapped and smiled, and jumped to her feet with each announcement. Finally, the fervor of the moment was too much to contain, and she turned to the congregation after Father finished his announcements and shouted, "I have two hundred and fifty dollars! And I didn't know I had it!"

I have no idea where she got the money; perhaps someone mailed her a check. Maybe she found it squirreled away somewhere that she had long forgotten putting it. It mattered not. We all let out a roar of laughter and applause, and she grinned from ear to ear, basking in the joy of the moment. We celebrated, not for the money, but for her joy. It felt good.


When parties and celebrations approach we spend a lot of time worrying, planning and scheming. Maybe we need to spend a little more time truly celebrating and being present to one another. The Gospel of Luke gives us a good example:


As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose
name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside
the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much
serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me
by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

This year I am going to try to choose the better part and truly celebrate, not the garden or the perfect home we have prepared, but our children and the people we love and cherish. Thanks, Reba, for the lesson worth every penny of that two hundred and fifty bucks.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Love My Black Lab


Parking is an issue in my place of employment; there are, it appears, fewer spots than there are employees. Who parks where is serious business. The Chief Operating Officer, also known as the Parking Czar, has spent considerable time determining which employees may park within a day's hike from the building and those who need to hire a Sherpa. The winter months are particularly exciting as snow obscures parking lines and plows pile huge mounds of snow in the corners of the lots covering dozens of potential parking spots. It's also the time that local nursing students arrive by the dozens, usually much brighter and earlier than those of us skidding in thirty seconds before the start of our shift, and they seem to get all the spots that don't require global positioning systems to find later.


Walking from my car to the entrance, while a lengthy affair, does provide ample time for thinking. Before I misrepresent myself as an intellectual, allow me to characterize some of my usual thoughts: "My foot hurts." "Why didn't I make coffee this morning." "I like Tim Horton's breakfast sandwiches." "I don't think my Sherpa likes me." Just meaningless random thoughts bouncing to and fro like chubby little toddlers at the playground, none of them brave enough to climb to the top of the slide but content in just being there.
This morning, though, my thoughts were jarred by a bumper sticker. Well, not really a bumper sticker; rather a bumper magnet. You know the type, shaped like a ribbon curled around. After 9/11 there were thousands out there with messages of patriotism and support for the troops. Others draw awareness to diseases and disabilities. Not this one. It said, "I love my black lab".


My first thought was, "who cares". I love dogs just as much as the next guy. But, really, who cares. I sure don't care if you like black labs, chocolate labs, or Frankenstein's lab. As I looked about at the bumper stickers on other cars, I saw a mix of the serious and the sublime along with the inane and just plain stupid. Most were fairly innocuous. "97 Rock" continues to be a favorite in the Buffalo area, although most listeners are losing hair and graying; restaurant, bar, and radio station stickers abound. But a few were at least somewhat of an attempt to present a real thought...One of my fav's: "God bless everyone. No exceptions". I'm glad you made that clear to Him, oh Subaru driving sticker applicator. Another: "Live simply that others may simply live". On a Hummer. Yeah.


My thoughts, though, kept returning to the black lab-lover. I condescendingly marveled at the stupidity of such a sticker. I thought to myself, "goodness, thank God my life is so much more full that I don't have such a ridiculous sticker on my car". I surmised that my life was infinitely deeper and more meaningful than that poor peasant, and, thus, more valuable. Then one of those chubby little toddlers at my mental playground looked me squarely in the eye and called me a dork.


I realized that much of my thoughts are as innocuous and meaningless as a bumper sticker professing love for a dog. I go through hours and hours with thoughts no deeper than my desire for pastries. I tried to think back through the week to recall what I was thinking as I walked to work in the morning. Not much. The majority of my time is spent thinking about present and future tasks, bodily discomforts and needs, and food. Yup. That's my brain in action. Not much to be condescending about.


Our thoughts need to be lifted to a higher plane. No wonder God said, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts," in Isaiah chapter 55:8. He's thinking about how much He loves us, the goings on of the world He created, and other such eternal omniscient-type stuff, and I'm thinking about doughnuts and back pain. Believe me, I'm grateful His thoughts aren't like mine; we would all be in trouble.


This coming week I am going to try something different. I am going to think about something real on the way in to work. Maybe I'll pray, maybe I'll ask God what I should think about. Maybe I will think about what I can do to show those I love how much I care. I'm not sure what I will muse about, but I am going to try very hard to pull my thoughts out of the realm of bumper stickers and into something a little more meaningful. And maybe, just maybe, my mental toddlers will grow up a little.


Let's hope. I don't like being called a dork.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thanks, Lee

This link was brought to my attention by one of my favorite bloggers. It gave a fresh perspective to the debate over President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame. Check it out:
http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=1402

Prince and the Swine Flu


Prince, the artist formerly known as some undecipherable symbol who was formerly known as Prince, recognized one day as he surveyed his kingdom that a name can have important connotations. In his wisdom he changed his stage name (which Merriam-Webster would have defined as "one who has high rank or high standing in his class or profession" - probably a fair description of his place in the world of popdom) to a stylized symbol resembling something a ninja would throw at you. Or maybe you could use it to open your favorite bottle of chardonnay.

In any event, it didn't work out. He's Prince again. Why didn't it work out? Well, let's take a gander at it...first, it just looks wierd, like something Napoleon Dynamite might have drawn under one of his "Liger" pictures. Second, publishers were unwilling to add the symbol to keyboards worldwide, something about billions of dollars, yada yada. Therefore, Prince became "the artist formerly known as Prince". Fill in the dots for that on your SAT's. Just too much. Third, it didn't mean anything. If the symbol you chose as your name requires more than three words to explain, drop it. Of course, Prince didn't really explain what it meant...when asked he would look introspective and mumble something, and we all turned the TV to the channel where everyone was yelling "set it and forget it". Finally, it was just too late - we knew him as Prince. It would be like my Polish sainted mama asking me to call her by her first name. It just ain't gonna happen.

In a similar vein, the U.S. Department of Health has decided that Swine Flu needs a new name. Apparently the medical profession has learned that sales of ham, baby-back ribs, and bacon are down due to the misconception that swine flu is spread via high-fat, high cholesterol-containing meats harvested from our friend, Porky. Heaven forbid we eat cereal or fresh fruit in the morning; nothin' says "get up and go" like a frying pan filled with sizzlin' bacon bathed in a puddle of hot grease. Therefore, the flu formerly known as swine will now be referred to as H1N1. Hopefully that will get you all back to the butcher and stop the madness. But I have a suspicion the new name won't stick.

I am now going to put on my scrubs and assume the role of ER nurse.
Rosemarie (I mean mama) has asked me to list things she can do to protect herself from H1N1. I thought maybe everyone might benefit from such a list, so here it is.
1. Keep your hands clean. Nothing says healthy like soap and water.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Cough and sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands. And, once again, wash your hands. If you are one of "those people" who insists on sneezing in a hanky, one word: DON'T. First, it's gross. Second, your wife has to touch them when she does the laundry. Not fair.
Third, its like keeping viruses as pets in your pocket. Not good. Get rid of them and use tissues like the rest of us.
3. Stay home if you are sick. We don't want your germs. No offense.
4. Get some of that sanitizing gel for your hands and keep some at work and at home. It really works. Don't touch your eyes, nose, and mouth if you can avoid it. Viruses look at these as welcome mats.
5. Don't panic. Most of those with H1N1 in the U.S. are suffering from very mild
cases. If you feel sick but normally wouldn't go to the doctor or ER for the symptoms you are having then you really don't need to now, either. Wait it out. You'll know when enough is enough.
6. Did I mention you should wash your hands?
Now let's all pray this goes away about as quickly as Prince's symbol.