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Posted on 2010.07.15 at 17:46
...The appearances are, that is.    It looks like I may have moved to Portland, but, no, I have not.

I loved the poppy theme I had before, really loved it.  But then I clicked on the link to the organization that created it (sponsored it?) and decided I didn't want that link on my page. 

I tried some of those simple color schemes and any number of other "nature themes," but found I really didn't like to look at them.  They were all entirely disatisfactory. I didn't realize the background of this little space of mine mattered so much to me.

I really want this space to be a reminder of home but I was unwilling to pay LiveJournal to display San Francisco as my theme (my next best choice.)  So. Portland it is.

I guess it's close enough... certainly closer than DC.... and it's very pretty to look at (which is the primary requirement.)

Saint of the Day

Posted on 2010.01.04 at 14:42

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Pray for us.

Couch potato

Posted on 2010.01.04 at 14:28
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Gardening is an entirely different beast in "these promiscuous parts"*.

*It's a quote from The Elephant's Child. Get your mind out of the gutter :).

Where I'm from gardening is not truly for the dilettante (sp?.)  Well, planting a garden isn't. 

Because darn near everything grows in (my part of) California, serious gardening is an exercise in patience and permanence. One plants scrubby little seedlings (or seeds) which one painstakingly waters and encourages for the time until they reach maturity, and then enjoys while they run riot in the garden. But the time between tending and enjoying is long, because one's garden is meant to be permanent.  Gardening there is a five-year undertaking.

I was appalled, the first winter I was here out east, to see the pansies that landscapers persist in filling plots and boxes with-- right up until it snows and the ground freezes.  The pansies, of course do not survive the snow, but as soon as the ground warms up (it seems), they are replaced with more only to die again when the temperature inevitably drops.

I still do not condone pansy-slaughter, but I'll admit that the fact that most plants don't survive the winter has brought me to a (rather guilty for this Californian) instant- gratification form of gardening.  Guess who's buying annuals (at home that would be "cheating") now?!

What escaped my calculations this year is the fact if one does not (with prudence and forsight) clear one's pots out before it gets cold... the soil in the pots freezes too and one can't clear them. So much for doing outside chores this weekend.

The start of the year before last's flowers.  I hate winter (although I don't exactly welcome the return of the humidity...)

A message from me to myself

Posted on 2009.12.14 at 16:00
Gaudete Sunday was only yesterday.... I think you need to lighten up. Do well, but joyfully.


Posted on 2009.10.27 at 13:37
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"I suppose none of this makes any sense to you, Charles, poor agnostic. ... You've never been to Tenebrae, I suppose?"

I was in Home Depot a weekend or two ago and was horrified to see that they already have their Christmas displays out.  

I do think the liturgical seasons ought to be kept distinct (they lose their meaning otherwise), but as I am now the proud holder of a ticket home in April, I am going to self-indulge further and discuss Easter liturgy for next year before this liturgical year has even ended.

April! I will be home for Holy Week and Easter! And that means.... Tenebrae. 

One of the Easter customs I miss most here on the east coast is Tenebrae.  Before you protest, yes, parishes here do hold Tenebrae.  One can even go to Dominican House and pray this office in great pomp and circumstance (if there's a seat free.)  On Wednesday of Holy Week at 7 pm or 7:30 pm.  That is the only time that any parish or community out here prays Tenebrae.  If you can't make it you miss it*. 

Such deprivation!

By contrast, I am going to go and sit in a cavernous (and ugly, but the lights will be out, so it won't matter) parish church in the wine country at 7:30 in the morning (which is a more traditional time for this office) with a hundred or so other folks and sing Tenebrae on Holy Thursday and on Good Friday and on Holy Saturday.  

The lights will be out and the church will be lit mainly with a very large candelabra (shaped like a menorah and called a "hearse") and one of the candles will be extinguished after every Psalm that we sing.  We will omit the doxology after the Psalms. Appointed people will sing the Lamentations in harmony. We will leave the church in silence. 

I can't wait.  

*(And if you sing in a parish choir, guess what you have the Wednesday before Holy Thurdsay.. at 7:30 pm... that's right, practice.)

Books Make The World Go Round

Posted on 2009.10.21 at 14:09
Taken from facebook.

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Plato, I think. (Is it a question of physical volumes? Or works?) Followed by Aristotle, then P.G. Wodehouse.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
The Bible, then the Republic.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Slightly, although sometimes you have to tie yourself in linguistic knots to avoid this particular grammatical lulu.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I have strange taste. John Knightly (Emma.) Brideshead Flyte.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
Hard. Probably Lord of the Rings, followed by In This House of Brede. The Psalms fit somewhere there as well.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
This is an impossible question. My answer would've changed every week, if not every day at that age. Authors ranged from Noel Streatfield to Mark Twain to whomever wrote The Babysitters' Club to Rudyard Kipling to Elizabeth George Speare to Tolkein to Carol Ryrie Brink to... you get the idea.

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
The DaVinci Code, (sorry if you've already heard my rant) not because of the misinformation or the slander of St. Josemaria Escriva, but because it was sold to me as a really engaging thriller and I found the climax dreadfully, dreadfully disappointing. I've also read a "serious" Brit novel called White Teeth that was just incoherent.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
I re-read a LOT. So, of books that were new to me: Father Elijah: An Apocalypse. Not my favorite, by any means, but better than the other "new to me" books I've read.

9) If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be?
Again very hard. Probably St. Benedict's Rule.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
No clue.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Can I get some movies re-made?

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Difficult. My default desire is not to want to see most books made into movies... no historical novels, that's for sure. They don't need it. And I detest this fashion for making picture books (especially good ones) into movies. There's no way the movies'll turn out well.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
My dreams don't usually involve known people or characters at all... The closest I guess was a semi-delirious flu dream in which a troup Tolkein-esque dwarves (their hoods looked just like the hoods in one of Tolkein's drawings in The Hobbit) marched over hills the color of my blankets continually chanting "percieve, percieve"

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Ugh. I started something by Dr. Phil when I was marooned in the house with nothing else (not mine, I borrowed it.) I couldn't finish it.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Aristotle's Metaphyiscs-- tough to understand. Das Capital-- most difficult to endure. I'd say Hegel, but I don't think I gleaned enough for it to count as reading

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Haven't seen anything too obscure-- lots of comedies and one performance of "Hamlet." Perhaps "Taming of the Shrew"- that doesn't get much play nowadays.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Russians all the way.

18) Roth or Updike?
Haven't read either.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Never read Sedaris. Dave Eggers is mildly entertaining sometimes.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

21) Austen or Eliot?
Austen, no comparison. Eliot gives me hives.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Oh, I have lots of gaps. The most noticeable is that I've never finished a Dickens novel. And I don't care.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Impossible to answer.

24) Play?
Hard, hard, hard, hard. Some combination of "King Lear", all the Greeks, and "The Importance of Being Earnest."

25) Poem?
Too hard, even though I'm not the biggest poetry fan. Epic or lyric? Which language? What's your definition of poetry, anyway?

26) Essay?
Don't know.

27) Short story?
"Parker's Back," Flannery O'Connor. I think. It's probably because I'm forgetting others.

28) Work of nonfiction?
Impossible- this category is entirely too broad.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Impossible. OK, I'll try for this one: David, or whoever wrote the Psalms?

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Is there only one? I don't know. I get the impression that most, if not all, fiction is overrated these days.

31) What is your desert island book?
I simply must have more than one.

32) And finally... what are you reading right now?
I'm ashamed to say... nothing in particular. I need a library card...

First things first

Posted on 2009.10.21 at 12:09
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For most of my life I have been rather uncomfortable with all things "girly."  

My mother's (frequent) admonitions that I should be "ladylike," were the least effective with me. (The mere word "ladylike" tainted anything mentioned in the same sentence.)  (And I'm no sporty type either, I hate anything that involves physical coordination and good eyesight; things I lack in abudance.)

Mind you, I accept (and think it right, dignum et justum est) that I, as a woman, have a different role in family life than someone of the male persuasion.  And I accept that it is possible that this different familial role may, by extension, affect my role in the world at large. 

 But in the wake of the unraveling of customs and social fabric in the middle of the last century, people aware of what has been lost now cast around for a solution, a formula, that will bring good order back again.

Often these people, seeing the destruction caused by the "feminism" most often espoused by followers of Margaret Sanger (*spit, *cough) (who was not a feminist in any sense of the word- not being friendly to human beings as such at all) latch on to things relating to "femininity" as the root of all social ills and propose solutions based on maitaining certain outward appearances and pracitices.

This mystifies me at best and irritates me at worst.

(In particular because so many of the troubles in our society have their roots in the political and philosophical ideas of the 18th and 19th centuries:  ideas that had little to do with gender relations or roles and more to do with... human dignity and the relationship of reason to knowledge and truth.  But that's another post entirely.)

I don't know, perhaps being a good woman does entail specific actions proper only to women, but really, I'm still working on being a good human being.  

When I feel that I've made some dent in obeying the most important commandment, (which I think is directed at both sexes)  "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" and "you shall love your neighbor as yourself," then perhaps I will have energy enough to decide whether there something additional I need to do because I am a woman.   


Posted on 2009.10.20 at 10:05
I have decided (the aftermath of a very silly argument with a friend) that if I ever produce progeny, I shall not take the title of "housewife," nor "homemaker," but "professional child-tamer*."

That's more likely to be the truth, anyway. May as well embrace it now.

*Specializing in highly ferocious, wiley and stubborn children.

Saint of the Day

Posted on 2009.10.17 at 10:07
St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, dear to my heart,

... pray for us.

Curmudgeonliness may be un-ladylike

Posted on 2009.10.15 at 16:06
Tags: , , ,
Nonetheless, reader,* be warned, these are some topics you will not encounter on this blog (inspired, I must confess, by my daily over-large portion of blog reading):

  • Dresses. No blog posts on dresses ever. Because if I were to write blog posts on dresses, they would largely be complaints. Probably no blog posts on clothing ever, because clothes look rather different on the hanger than on the person, and you won't catch me posting pictures with me as the model. I prefer to maintain some mystery. And anyway, those whose opinions on clothing I trust, I can ask in person. I may post pictures of craft projects. Maybe.

  • Pink. No blog posts on anything pink.

  • Men, how to catch. I'm skipping this one out of pure ignorance, mainly, although I also think it's fruitless to engage in sweeping generalizations about an entire gender. I may post on mysteries relating to the other sex-- which are too many and various to summarize-- but that is another matter entirely.
  • Advice on living out the virtues. I may post on the nature of virtue, even on what I have observed in myself, but laying down the law on practices (as in, everyone should only ever wear long skirts, (that goes for you too, guys!) use Catholic textbooks, say the rosary daily, etc.) I will skip.

  • And the like. I reserve the right to expand this list.

If I had self-control, I would refrain from ever posting on the continual liturgy wars in the Church, but I don't.

I'm not interested in the wars for the wars' sake, or because I think anything good comes over arguing whether one form of the liturgy is inherently "higher" than another. I accept the enormous value of the Church's liturgical patrimony and mourn what has been lost ('though less has been lost to me, I think, than many people.)

However, I have what I deem to be fairly legitimate questions on the respective value of mental vs. vocal prayer (and by extension, meditation and contemplative prayer) and further on the appropriate place of any and all in the liturgy.

Tied to this (for me) are questions regarding the nature of chant and chant as prayer (oughtta talk to Eastern Catholics, they don't seem to have the hang-ups on these subjects that plague the Roman Rite.)

I shall probably hang about the edges of the liturgy wars 'til I can comprehend the thus far unintelligible (to me) objection to/minimization of vocal prayer in liturgy by TLM-types.

*I am aware that this personage is likely theoretical.

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