Sunday, July 29, 2007

A continuing journey...

At the Saturday Vigil Mass Will finished an 18 month journey by joining the Catholic Church. It was a beautiful mass, and we were blessed to have all our children there to experience it with us. It made me smile to look down the pew and see them all sitting there, from oldest to youngest. I was so proud!

There were four people joining the church that evening. Will was the last to get anointed with oil, and Father John obviously figured he might as well dump the remaining oil from the horn on him! The scented olive oil ran down his face and even managed to sneak under the towel provided. For the rest of the evening, Will smelled faintly of olive oil and roses and his collar was stained darkly with the excess oil. He was well and truly anointed.

Will's sponsor was also our RCIA director and now good friend, Andrew. During the Eucharist, Andrew guided Will directly to Father John for his first communion in the Catholic Church. It was an emotional moment for Will, something he'd been looking forward to for months.

Afterwards, Will and I, along with out youngest daughter, went to a party given by the family of one of the new members. The food was wonderful and the company even more so. The Catholic church we attend is very large, but we are finding a community within the community, and the fellowship is good.

Right now our family will relax and enjoy being together on Sunday mornings again. Will and I will mostly go to Saturday evening Mass, or perhaps very early Sunday morning. Then we will join our children for worship at Grace. We will continue to be a "two-church" family...or a three-church family if you count our occasional forays to the church where our friend is the pastor (see Woodshavings link at right). In the fall when I get a handle on life, I may go back to RCIA Inquiry and restart the path myself. But for now, I am happy to be an observer, and happy to be sitting next to my husband in church again. Life is good.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sometimes we get it right.....

Here are some pictures of GraceMart. Every year our church community processes thousands of donations of clothing, toys, food, furniture and more, and gives it all way...for free. Last night, the GraceMart served 410 people. Today volunteers are at the church processing hundreds of new donations to make them available tonight and tomorrow night. Although I took 7 big bags of clothing over there two weeks ago, I'm ashamed to say I forgot about GraceMart during this busy week. I meant to go over and work. That's what I get for not putting it on my calendar. But even if I forget, God doesn't. He's faithful...and in his faithfulness, hundreds of people in our area will be blessed with free clothing, food, and furniture.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Reviews of Mediated

I know some of you are rolling your eyes, but be patient with me. My friend 15Minutes wants to know more about Mediated, so I decided to post some reviews. BTW,'ll like this book.

From Publishers Weekly
In a deceptively colloquial, intellectually dense style, de Zengotita posits that since the 1960s, Americans have belonged to a culture of reflexivity, and the media in all their forms have put us there. We're bombarded from childhood with so many images putting "us"—the individual person—at the center of the universe that we cannot help thinking that this is where we belong. We live in a Times Square world, says the Harper's contributing editor, and thus we become the ultimate Descartesians: media think only of us, therefore we think only of ourselves. The result of this self-centeredness is that we become increasingly numbed by the bombardment of images and, in a variation on the "if a tree falls in the woods" query, we can no longer imagine our premediated lives. Media imagery has given us an omniscient perspective—we can be on the grassy knoll, by the Twin Towers, on the beach as the tsunami hits—while never having to incur the horrors of being there. "Mediation" inevitably closes us off to the unmediated world, home of those victims of the tsunami whose lives are hideously hard and where no media put them front and center. This provocative, extreme and compelling work is a must-read for philosophers of every stripe. (Mar. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
De Zengotita's style is both reflective and sardonic as he delves into the ways the media has shaped our individual reactions to modern culture and events. Influenced by the media-inspired "culture of performance," we now live our lives as if we are performers practicing method acting, he maintains. We go through the motions of expected reactions to everything from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to Princess Diana's death to documentaries of the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights movement. The Internet, satellite television, and a host of technological products and services now give us the impression of participating in current and historical events to such an extent that we can barely distinguish the varying levels of what de Zengotita categorizes as ranging from the real-real to the unreal-real. Analyzing car commercials, cell-phone usage, the social art of teenagers, and other aspects of modern culture, with keen detail and wit, de Zengotita offers an amazing look at how media affects our culture, our choices, and our responses to our media-filtered lives. Completely absorbing, amusing and insightful. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Monday, July 23, 2007

What I'm up to....

What have I been doing? Well, obviously not blogging. And if you saw my house, you'd know I haven't been concentrating on housecleaning, either. But I haven't been completely worthless, either. Here is what's been going on in my life:

  • My oldest son (18) was involved in a drama camp last week. They take a full length play (in this case You Can't Take It With You) and put it together in one week. They only accept the exact number of people needed for the parts and it's a first come- first served basis. That means you don't weed through hundreds of people to get "the best." They assign roles the first day and then the actors spend the week memorizing lines and blocking scenes. They go from 9 to 4 daily, with the performance on Friday evening. While the play didn't have a completely polished look, it was absolutely amazing! The lead characters had hundreds of lines and did them flawlessly. The timing was great and the audience was roaring with laughter. I can't believe they can do this in five days. this production company is run by two 18 year olds and they've been doing it for three years! For this play they had an adult with theater experience help, but they've put on some amazing plays with just their own experience to go on, including the student version of Les Mis and The Diary of Anne Frank. The fee for participating is $90.
  • My 10 year old daughter is in the drama camp this week. She has a small part in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. She's a little disappointed not to have a larger role (she is only in one scene), but she's handling it well. This play has almost all younger kids, so they only go from 10-4 daily. The performance is Friday evening. I forgot the camera for my son's play, but I'll try to post some pictures of my dd's.
  • I've finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Don't worry- no spoilers here. I stood in line to buy it at midnight, but I'm afraid I didn't enjoy the experience much. I didn't end up at one of those fun parties I keep seeing pictures of. I ended up with over 1000 people standing in line outside of a B&N for over an hour. I was chained to this line of people, not able to move or I'd lose my place, listening to some of the most insipid and, at times, vulgar conversations. I would not do it again. However, the book is great.
  • Last week I had a real life encounter with friends. It was wonderful! Several lady friends of mine ended up at the pool with their kids, and without their husbands, all at the same time one evening. Several of us had brought some dinner, and all five of us, with our 16 of our children (there would be 24 children between us if they'd all been there), ate together. The five ladies talked and laughed for hours until the pool closed. The kids (ages 4-16) swam, played games, ate snacks, and had a great time. Later that evening I told Will that this is what I'm craving. An "in real life" group of friends who love and accept each other. We were not a homogeneous group, and a couple of the ladies hadn't really spent much time together before that night, but the atmosphere was one of acceptance and caring. I guess you can say we "clicked." Everyone else must have felt it, too, because they ahve all said something to me about how "renewing" that evening was and how they want to do it again real soon.
  • I'm still reading Blink and finishing Mediated. I took the weekend off to read and reread Harry Potter, though. I've also started My Life With the Saints by James Martin, SJ.
  • I've been watching movies more recently. I'll post my list at the end of the month.
Well, that's only a partial look at my life right now. I am still thinking thoughts, just not able to put them into words right now. thanks for reading. ;-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm rated PG!

Online Dating

I've mentioned death twice and kill once...although i though I had mentioned sex, too, in the last post. I should have a PG-13!!

Thanks to Jimmy at Woodshavings:

What is your blog rated? (Click on rating box to go to the site.)


I'm having adult-onset ADD symptoms and can't seem to develop a though into a blog-length post, so here's a random set of thoughts:

  1. Read Mediated by Steven de Zengotita. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating. This is a very important book and anyone who reads and writes blogs will be interested in what the author has to say. Stick it out past the first chapter. Your patience will be rewarded. (Thank you Alton Brown.)
  2. In recent weeks I've read the first three books of a fantasy series that has some borderline "horror" elements, such as vampires, werewolves and the like. The author is Jim Butcher and the series is called The Dresden Files. Overall they are pretty good, although a bit, well, bloody and all. But I realized I was feeling a bit depressed and it finally dawned on me that the books weren't helping my outlook on life. That's happened to me before with a few mystery writers. Elizabeth George has a well-written series about Detective Lynley. They've made some into BBC Mystery! shows. I read many of the books, starting at the beginning, before realizing that I was feeling weighed down. There was this obligation to get and read the next book in the series, and I admit the series is well-written, but it was depressing to read about the sad and tangled personal lives of the main characters. I finally stopped reading them, and although I wish I knew what happened, I can't face the descriptions of missed chances and miscommunication between people who should know better. I'm affected by what I read.
  3. I'm affected by what I watch. My favorite shows are detective/crime dramas. (Do you see a trend here?) But I can only watch so much of shows like CSI before I realize I'm becoming paranoid to leave my house at night! Well, that's a overstatement, but you get the picture. I love the detective work of mysteries and crime dramas, but there is TMI about perversity and evil, and too many pictures of dead bodies...up close and personal. Even the "lighter" crime dramas like NCIS and Numb3rs can get to be too much, especially when it comes to sex crimes. Again...TMI.
  4. I am surprised at how petty people can be, and ashamed that I can act the same way. Insecurity often comes out as judging others who do things differently. I pray God just helps me love people, and that He helps others love me when I'm being a pook.
  5. I want to know why laundry, food related jobs, and (very) limited housecleaning can take so much of my time. It's like having a newborn and wondering how something so small can take every waking moment. Yes, I waste time, but still.....
  6. My son is leaving Saturday for Peru. It has already been an eye-opening experience for him. After leaving the Travel Health Clinic with a sore arm and several prescriptions for malaria prevention and such, my son had a revelation. "We're amazingly safe here in the U.S., aren't we?" Yellow fever, typhoid fever, malaria and such are the stuff of history lessons to him. He's now getting the idea that people all over the world still live, and die, this way. This isn't National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

It's not much, but....

...we got some doors finished. Exciting, huh? I'm sure your pulse is racing from the rush of adrenaline. ;-)

Well, my pulse isn't exactly racing (except from exertion, maybe), but I am pleased. We got back from a great five days in southeastern VA visiting family on Thursday. On Friday morning, Will and I wen to the local hardware store (privately owned "small" case you're keeping track) and bought supplies. We then decided our teen boys (16 and 18) really did want to know how to use the palm sander, so we volunteered them to help. I took charge of the painting detail which included my 10 yr old daughter. My 13 yr old daughter somehow managed not to get involved. We're still trying to figure that one out.

Over the next day and a half, we worked in 95 degree weather to sand, scrape and clean the doors, and then prime and paint them. At first we tried prepping them outdoors and painting them in situ, but that was a bad idea. It's impossible to paint a door correctly when it sits on carpet, even with a drop cloth. There is no way to keep the paint from getting all over the drop cloth as you paint the bottom edge of the door. I had paint all over me by the end of the day.

The next day we tried a different tactic, one that took longer but made for easier painting and a nicer end product. We painted the doors outside while they were on sawhorses. That meant one side at a time, and it was s-l-o-w, but they looked nicer. It also meant I was outside working instead of inside. I don't generally mind the heat, so I was okay. In fact, during one painting stint the outside AC unit cycled off and stayed off for the entire time I was outside. After a few minutes I realized that I was hearing birds singing, and kids playing and laughing on the next street over. It was quite relaxing and made me smile. I kid you I took the last swipe with the paint roller, the unit kicked on. I felt like God had given me a 30 minute reprieve from noise, and I was thankful I hadn't brought my iPod out with me!

So I have 9 freshly painted doors in my house. I eventually need to do 9 more, including two sets of louvered doors, but we made a start. Something on my to-do list got done. It makes a difference in my whole outlook on life! :-D