Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mini Monk

A little video inspired by a plastic 2½ inch monk (probably St. Francis of Assisi because he is so thin) found at a thrift store, placed in my terrarium and photographed. The beautiful voice is little Jackie Evancho from whom I "borrowed" only half of the Our Father.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost, Pageantry and Poop

The Catholic Church I attend is named after St. Rose of Lima who often wore a crown of thorns to emulate the suffering of Christ. From the high ceiling directly above the altar hangs a huge metal crown of thorns; I guess its diameter is about 15 feet.

I always love the tasteful, seasonal decorations and today, Pentecost Sunday, was no exception: flowers strewn about and ribbons streaming from the giant crucifix, bringing to mind light and the joy of the day. Father O walked the center aisle and sprinkled us with Holy Water commemorating our Baptisms and Confirmations while we sang.

During the first reading I was thinking of how I want to change my Confirmation name (no one should be allowed to make such a decision at age 12). I stupidly went for drama and chose a name that means nothing to me and is completely unlike me: Jeanne d'Arc (I am embarrassed to say). She may well have been a great warrior, a great Christian and a Saint– but I just do not relate to her.

Suddenly ... what was that!? Towards the back and to the right of the metal crown of thorns ... movement ... a little flash of white ... Oh My Goodness!! It's a dove! So symbolic! Did it get there by itself or was it a part of the decorating? I don't remember it from last year. Who would have gotten up that high to place it there? And how can it be so well behaved? Does anyone else see it? Perhaps it's a miracle!  If it was a miracle, it wasn't solely my miracle because I eventually noticed that a few others saw it as well. It remained in exactly the same spot throughout Mass. Father O went on to say many things about the meaning of the day: the coming together of many countries, oneness, faith and, of course, love– but nothing about the "miraculous" dove.

At the end of Mass, when Father O processed down the aisle, he greeted me and I said something like, "duh ... dove ..." He flashed a big smile and simply said in his brogue, "Oh, you should see the mess on the floor under it." That's all. So I get to interpret it however I like.

I think I've mentioned in other posts to not being a big "rules" person. I don't know what the rule is on changing one's Confirmation name, but I am changing mine to Louise. It is a family name and the actual St. Louise was charitable (worked alongside St. Vincent de Paul of whom I am a big fan), really came into her faith later in life, and, from the depictions I've seen, was probably not esteemed for her looks. The name means something to me. The day means something to me. The dove means something to me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

To Gift or Not To Gift

I am not a fan of giving or receiving gifts. This makes me a grinch or a cheapskate in the eyes of most people, likely the same people who would contend that it's the thought that counts. I resent wasting my time thinking about what others might want. I also know that I can't (don't even want to) afford what they really want. Unfortunately we are expected to give gifts more and more often and to more and more people. I have often purchased gift cards for people I don't even like or barely know.

Some people love the whole gift-exchanging scenario. It's their identity. I think they also like receiving. Some of the people who love, love, love gifting don't care if the recipient loves, loves, loves the gift; they simply want the feeling. In the book, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, I think it would be revealed that the acts of gift-giving and gift-receiving speak love to them. They are good at it, organized about it, they seem to love shopping and "things" (which often appear to me as crap). I have spent my entire adult life trying to understand these people. They are fortunate that they get to feel good about themselves in this consumer-driven society. They do not understand me, illustrated when they might criticize the efforts of the less enthusiastic; i.e., giving to a charity in a recipient's name is some sort of an insult or cash is crass, etc.

There is a faction who gives out of guilt, knowing the expectations. I usually fall in with this group with varying degrees of success and failure, uncomfortable with my unattractive resentment. Yet, there is so much guilt if I try to be true to myself and it is embarrassing to be the one who arrives empty-handed and leaves with something.

Rarely have I received something that I had to have or even remotely wanted. (Exceptions might be flowers, time together enjoying a meal, a well-chosen book...I do get the concept a little.) When I shop for myself, I am usually deliberate and careful. I know what I want. I don't want to inflict my taste on others. And the assumption that mass-marketed trinkets are my taste is annoying. How often I have kept something that I don't care for simply because I don't want to hurt the feelings of someone I care for.

To be honest, I understand and have felt the joyful feeling one gets when one thinks that a gift has really made someone's day. It is easy to do for one's own children when they are young. But I still always wanted to instill in my children that the haul was not the holiday.

Maybe the fact that I have been dirt-poor at times explains me; I don't like to be wasteful. Perhaps the fact that I am religious and think it makes way more sense to give to those in need explains me. I am not overly materialistic but I have everything I need. I am more a doer, less a consumer. Gift-giving seems excessive, boastful, competitive and extravagant to me but I am not criticizing those who really receive joy from it. I just wish I didn't feel I had to do it.

P.S.- Although it feels good to have ranted; I still end up feeling like a buzz-killer.
P.P.S- Scented soaps and candles are nice, I gotta say.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus

I know this is petty. I try to not let it bother me; however, I do wonder.

In the 70s the Roman Catholic Church in the US liberally changed some of the English used in the Mass from its original Latin translation. I think the reasoning was to make it more relatable to Americans (some people called it touchy-feely translating). This year, 2012, we were instructed/mandated to return to the proper, literal translation from the Latin.

I happen to prefer the literal translation. Having fallen away from the Church for many of the intervening years, it was much easier for me to revert to what I had originally learned when I was a child, when the Mass first went to English and the translation was precise.

The 70s sometimes added superfluous words. The response to "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God" became: "it is right and just to give Him thanks and praise" instead of the simple "it is right and just" (Dignum et iustum est.).

Which brings me to my observation. When I was young and we sang the Sanctus in Latin it went:
    Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
    Dominus Deus Sabaoth

When we were allowed English, we said or sang:
    Holy, Holy, Holy
    Lord God of Hosts

Then, the 70s additions happened and it was interpreted this way:
    Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
    God of power and might
(observe that the word Lord is bumped up to the first line)

Today, I notice that many are still bringing the word Lord up to the first line:
    Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
    God of Hosts
(and this kinda drives me nuts)

In my Church, most of the priests lead the English this last (wrong?) way. Unless we sing it; then we do it correctly. I've thought about discussing it with one of our parish priests –and I might– but perhaps this minor annoyance is a good thing to "offer up" (remember that?).

I like to think of myself as a non-rigid Catholic who doesn't get all hung up on rules. I think that one's relationship with God is infinitely more personal than dictates allow or even attempt to understand. I tend to think that sometimes we hide true meaning behind habitual and regimented behavior.

So I will try to not flinch at "Holy Holy Holy Lord" ... because to do so is trivial and not sanctus at all.

Currently reading:
 The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse 
 by Louise Erdrich

For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety and is faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated by evil?

I am finding this book very passionate, fascinating, surprisingly believable, sometimes humorous, beautifully written in a way that grasps from the prologue and doesn't let go. The Vatican might not approve of this story; however, knowing how intensely Catholicism is practiced, I am intrigued.

[She] imagined that she had bent to the ground and had been rooted by the ends of her fine, black hair. When she pulled herself upright, earth rained down on her and her thoughts were as weak as dust.
That is just so much more expressive than saying:
[She] was depressed.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rats and Bats

 I spent today making silhouettes of rats and bats.
They look great in a mirror, in windows or against a white surface.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mom's Handbag

Ah! There is much to be said about enduring style, is there not?
I still have in my possession the handbag my mother held on the day she married my dad in Dublin, Ireland, right after WWII, August 1945. At this writing, that makes it 67 years old; not exactly Smithsonian vintage but nearly. It doesn't have a label so I don't know where it was made; undoubtedly it was purchased in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she lived. Just beautiful.

Here is the proof in her right hand!
I also used to have the suit, a scarlet wool 40s style, but it got too moth-eaten and sadly, was discarded. Oh– and that's my future dad, the US Army sergeant who swept her off to America.
I'm currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and wonder how, in Northern Ireland, 1945, she could have gotten her hands on such a handbag– with leather and practically everything being rationed. My mom, being young and cute, would brag a little of how her own mother encouraged her to flirt with the fellow they called "Billy Butter" to get extra –what else?– butter! I have a feeling that, the minute the war was over, my dreamy-future-mother went on a meager shopping spree.  P.S. Good book!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Strawberry Season

   Strawberries have personality. And good taste.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crows Love Cherries!

Where did all the cherries go?
Caw!  Caw!
The tree was decimated by the crows.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dream Big– READ!

It's time for Summer Reading and the theme this year is Dream Big- READ!
Here is what I've come up with for our Book Log:

Individual schedule for Central.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Old Women

Some have a dislike (fear) of anything "granny". Everything is poo-poo-ed if it's too "granny".  The expression "not your granny's … (decor, car, crafts– whatever)" is touted as a good thing because to be "granny" means to be out-of-style. Well, I say poo-poo to that! Get over yourselves, youth obsessed. If you are lucky, you too will get old.

     Some of my paintings and drawings of "old women".



Fetching blueberries