Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catholic podcasts

Ok, I just had to post about this. I found a free rosary podcast through iTunes, as I mentioned below. But I did a bit more digging, and found that there are tons of free Catholic podcasts out there. There is actually a site called A Catholic iPod, how bloody cute is that?! Thus, never a girl that can leave well enough alone, I have resolved to check all of these things out and report back on quality. I'm sure you're all waiting on baited breath for my report :)

The nerdy Catholic Librarian prepares to travel...

For most normal people, preparing to go on vacation means that they pack sunscreen, their bathing suit, and put their carry-on toiletries into those ridiculous little 3 oz. containers and subseqnent ziploc bag that the airline industry subjects us to. What does the Catholic Librarian do, you ask?

(1) Go to the public library and obtain a small army of romance and religious fiction, and Catholic non-fiction to read.
(2) Charge up my beloved iPod Nano, Max, (Mike claims I love Max more than him) and synch him up with some new French music Shauna'h gave me.
(3) Use super speedy librarian powers to find a free rosary podcast through iTunes, and subscribe happily. I am now loaded up with the Sorrowful Mysteries.
(4) Refresh my Vatican Radio podcast list so that I'll have a few to listen to at the airport; this, of course, is assuming that Hank is unconscious or something. Otherwise, how on earth would I be able to listen to anything?
(5) Make sure that my binoculars and east coast bird reference volume are in the "to be packed" pile. I've spotted many a snowy egret from the car on the way back from the airport.

So, I think I'm ready. I'd rather sleep in the same clothes for three straight days then not have a book with me or anything to listen to. I shudder at the thought.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post-Christmas sales...

Personally, I'm scouting for a nice wooden Advent calendar at 50% off that I can save for next year. And I'm also in the market for a white gold miraculous medal that I can put on a chain that Mike got for me. Seems they don't exist, at least from preliminary searching. Sterling silver and pewter yes, white gold no. We'll see. Online Catholic stores are no match for my librarian researching powers...

I also have lots of gift cards, and boy do I have a good time after the holidays every year figuring out what I'm going to use them on. I have iTunes, Old Navy, and my all time favorite, Amazon. So, so many ways that I can spend money at Amazon. How I love thee. But at any rate, I needed new reading material for my trip to Florida this week to visit my in-laws, and obviously, an Amazon order would not arrive in time :) So, I just got back from a productive trip to the public library. Has anybody read any of Nicholas Sparks' books? I picked up a few of those. I also picked up the last in Katerine Valentine's series featuring a Catholic parish in a small New England town, called A Wing and a Prayer. They're pretty cutesy, but wholesome, fun reads. Catholic fiction is not easy to find, I tell you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back from the depths...

So, I spent the weekend pretty much snowed in. That's romantic for about a half a day, and then I go stir crazy. Yesterday was day 3 of my confinement, and by the early evening, I was ready to place Hank in the recycling bin for morning pick-up. It was rough. We baked cookies for his upcoming school holiday party last night, and he was under strict instructions that he could eat 1 cookie, but had to leave the rest alone. Every time I turned around to check on him, hovering over the cooling rack, he was (a) touching, (b) breathing on, (c) stroking, or, his personal favorite,(d) licking, the cookies. Everywhere I went in the house, within seconds I'd hear that little "mooommmyyy" with just enough whine in it to remind me of why my new box of Franzia is already empty. It was just one of those days where I had cabin fever and Hank was tired and difficult, but it had the added complication of appearing as if we lived inside a snow globe. I actually avoided even going *near* the doors, it was so bad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weather system approaching...

Sounds sort of ominous, huh? :) We're under a winter storm warning currently, upgraded from a storm watch. This isn't the sort of upgrade one usually looks forward to, like being upgraded to first class on your flight out to the west coast. Mike and I were upgraded to first class on our flight to San Francisco for our honeymoon. A flight attendant named Dexter fed us meals with linen napkins and plied us with Chardonnay and Heineken for four straight hours. That's the kind of upgrade I look forward to. Anyway, I digress. We usually drive Hank up about 20 miles to my parents house on Fridays for them to look after him, but the weather may prohibit us from doing that tomorrow. Thus, Mike and I are scrambling to rearrange our schedules so that one of us can be home with him tomorrow. Thus is the life of a parent of small children :) I suppose I can use the time at home to do some laundry and wrap presents. We'll see...I'm certain a cup of hot chocolate laced with Bailey's will come into play as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My little snowman...

That's my precious angel, third from the left. He did such a wonderful job last night. He took his duties *very* seriously :) Naturally, as soon as the curtain opened, I started bawling. Unsurprising, I know. He was just so, so precious and angelic. He also got to sit on Santa's lap:

Really weighing down Santa's knee, huh? :) He's such a big kid, but I swear, he's ours :) I was just so proud of him. In bonus news, he told us both before and after the program that he had to go pee pee, and then he sat on the potty and went. It's just raining toddler good news today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My baby!

My precious little guy is going to be a snowman at the daycare Christmas show tonight, and I couldn't possibly be more excited. I will try and post a picture tomorrow :) As you well know, I'm a pretty emotional person, and I'm thinking that seeing my dumpling up on stage is going to instigate the water works. My baby!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I am officially...

one of *those* people. You know, those people who get all phobic about other people being near them, and do all of their Christmas shopping online. I just got back from a jaunt to Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble. Holy smokes. The parking lot situations alone are enough to bring on the Ibuprofen. But going into the store and dodging the clueless people browsing aimlessly, totally unaware of anyone else's needs but their own, is enough to really do me in. Shopping carts left in the middle of the aisle while their owner cluelessly gazes elsewhere make me frantic. I was hot and irritated in the matter of five minutes. Plus, everything is more expensive than it is online. Long before I left the first store I wondered to myself why I wasn't safely ensconced in my office, sipping tea and browsing Amazon. What was I thinking?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flush with success of holiday shopping...

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my Christmas shopping is just about done, and it's still two weeks until Christmas. I've been much more organized this year, given that we're living on one income and I have to be much more careful about what I spend, and when. So far, I have to say it's actually turning out quite well. Instead of worrying (incessantly; this is *me* we're talking about) about purchasing numerous gifts for each person in my life, I'm choosing one or two gifts for them, very, very carefully.

My first criteria is no gift cards. Gift cards are wonderful, but I really want to see my recipient actually open an item that I've selected for them. More excitement that way :) The second thing is that I want it to be something that I really feel that they will enjoy and use, but of course it can't break the bank. So, I've had to be creative, and my Christmas spirit is much higher this year than in years past. I'm liking this. Instead of getting a lot of toys for Hank this year, (his grandparents will do that, in abundance :) I've been changing up my buying choices. I got him a very inexpensive Play Doh ice cream factory. Glutton for punishment? Perhaps. But Play Doh does inspire creativity, and is much better for the kids than watching tv. The one thing I did relent on was an inexpensive car toy where he can launch the cars through a spiral thing. I got him some wonderful books at the Scholastic sale, including one with vinyl clings of the characters that he can place in the book himself, and an accompanying small stuffed Wubbzy complete with a bendy tail. I also got him a wood puzzle of the solar system, and his own magnetic calendar.

Of all of the toys that he has (which is a lot, sigh) the one thing he plays with every single day since he got it is a wood puzzle of the United States. This thing is cool. *I* enjoy playing with it. Such a feeling of victory when one places the last piece in :) It cost under $10 and I had nearly forgotten that we'd tucked it away for him. I'm truly excited to give him the things that I picked out for him. Plus, they all take up infinitely less space in our house than the gigantic plastic toys - bonus!

So, this year, I'm honestly feeling better about Christmas because I'm not making myself crazy with an endless list of things that I need to buy. It's a good feeling :) *halo* Well, it's also partly that I'm being cheap, so don't think too highly of me just yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scholastic success...

Being a librarian, I'm sure you are unsurprised to learn that I love books. I like to touch them, smell them, tuck them into my purse, and generally oogle them. I learned of a Scholastic educators warehouse sale from my mom, and I was all over it within the hour. I pre-registered myself (I qualify as an educating librarian :) and my good friend, Chris, and away we went. Over an hour later, we disembarked from the warehouse, me flush with book success. I *love* buying books, even for other people. So I selected a nice smattering of things that I know my book-loving son will enjoy, and I loved every minute of it. It was crowded in there, but super Catholic Librarian made do. I gently elbowed teachers out of the way to access the Wow Wow Wubbzy titles that Hank specifically asked Santa for. I stooped low under lingering-too-long women in the pre-k section to get at the super heroes offerings. Great fun was had by all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

*angels sing*

We had a monumental event the other day - Hank went pee pee on the potty *at school*! Much rejoicing followed. He's also gone at least once a day at home for the past week, including this morning before I took him to school. I'm getting hopeful; really, really hopeful. Of course, this decidedly does NOT mean that he asks to go on the potty willingly. Oh no, that would be far too easy :) There is still much protesting, mixed in with just enough whining to make you long for a box of Franzia. But we're getting there. That reminds me - I need to stop at the liquor store on the way home. Seems like the perfect night for hot cocoa with Bailey's :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am officially...

obsessive compulsive librarian. I have Purell on my desk and spray the reference desk with Lysol before my shifts. I get sick *way* more than I should. I've had two miserable, long-lasting colds and pink eye in the past two months. I need to do some damage control :) The restroom situation here doesn't help at all. The chances of having a working soap dispenser are about 1 in 3. It's so, so ridiculous.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's always something...

I'm certain all of my loyal fans noticed the absence of a blog post this past Friday :) I was home sick. I had been sick all week, and figured I'd try and break the vicious cycle and get some rest. Well, I was home with Henry, since he's usually with my parents on Fridays, and I figured I would give them a break and keep him with me. As you can imagine, rest was the last thing that I got on Friday. I swear it, it was more work and more stress than being at work. Hank was just cranky and tempramental, and it was a tough day all around. Things didn't get better until I went to my bellydance class in the evening. This is the beginning of a new class session, and we're starting a new routine. Excited :)

At any rate, I try to get some rest Friday night. I've been coughing to infinity for a week, so I *really* need some sleep. We get a light dusting of snow Friday evening. 1:30 am Saturday morning, what do I hear? Our neighbor's slow removal service loudly plowing snow from her driveway. They were so loud, I thought something had actually hit our house and caused it to vibrate. So, clearly, at that point I was up. And then what happened? I started to cough. And cough and cough and cough. I coughed until I had to move to the guest bedroom for fear of waking Mike and Hank, and miserably coughed until morning. It was not a good day.

Saturday night. I'm sure you see where this is going. Light dusting overnight. 3:30 am - plow comes up neighbor's driveway and wakes me out of an absolute SOUND SLEEP. I was completely incredulous. There is NO WAY that they don't realize how much noise they make, and how close the houses are to each other in our neighborhood. It is so completely obnoxious that I am speechless. So I'm awake, and I begin to cough. I move to the guest bedroom. I notice that my eyes are real nasty and gunky. I'm grossed out, get rid of aforementioned gunk, and figure it's just my eeeevviiilll cold draining something particularly offensive. Toss and turn until morning, and stumble into the bathroom. One look at my face reveals an unpleasant reality - I have pink eye. Both of my eyes are swollen. The left is extremely red and the right is getting there. I wanted to cry. Pink eye is extremely contagious, and the last thing I needed was to pass it on to Hank. Plus, it was Sunday. Not exactly easy to get ahold of the doctor. I was scheduled on the reference desk in the afternoon. The Catholic Librarian was *most* unhappy.

So, I call the service of my new doctor. Some random other doctor is covering her service for the weekend. Fine. I call at 8 am and leave the message with the service. Two hours later, I'm still waiting for a call back, and I'm getting seriously pissed. Finally, just after 10, the random doctor calls. I tell him that I have pink eye; let's face it, it's pretty easy to identify. He *refuses* to prescribe drops for me without me being seen. I won't dwell on this, because I'm *still* upset about it. Completely, completely unnecessary. I waited over two hours to be told that I can either wait until the next day and go in to see my regular doctor, or go to urgent care. People, pink eye is NOT urgent. But it's contagious, so I didn't want to leave it. Plus, my eye was feeling itchier and redder by the second. If I didn't get the prescription drops, I wouldn't be able to go to work, and I would risk infecting Mike and Hank. I at first refused urgent care, stubbornly holding to my philosophy (which I maintain) that it is NOT necessary to go to urgent care for pink eye. I eventually gave in, for the reasons I mentioned above.

I arrive at urgent care to be told that my co-pay is *$35*. Once again, I have to not dwell here, because I am still *so* upset about this. $35 could buy Christmas presents for my baby. What did they do at urgent care? Take my blood pressure and temperature and give me one of those lame vision tests where you read the letters off the chart. The doctor walks in, takes one look at me, and proclaims "Oh, you have pink eye." I will NOT repeat what went through my head, because it is so, so vicious, I would have to avail myself of the sacrament of reconciliation. He gives me a prescription for some drops, and away I go. I am UPSET. Between the two co-pays, this little bout with pink eye cost me $50. We do *not* have money like that lying around these days, with Mike back in school. I am very, very upset. What can I say? It sucked.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cute bird anecdote

I'm still miserably sick, but I observed a very entertaining bird spectacle this morning that I thought was worth writing about. I was proceeding out of the house this morning, naturally bundled like Nanook of the North. Did I mention that I was sick? And that I'm miserable? Right. So anyway, Hank is up ahead playing in the drivers seat of my parked car. As I head out, I hear some pretty pissed off sounding crows caw-ing like there is no tomorrow. I'm sure you're all familiar with our friends, the American Crow:

I look up, and there is an angry gaggle of 3 crows in the tree in our neighbors yard. Crows always sound like they have a lot on their minds, but this morning in particular, these guys sounded downright surly. They were all bunched together too, like they were having an emotion-filled meeting about something. Then I noticed *it*. On a branch below them, sat a giant, giant ass hawk. I soon discerned that it was a Red-tailed Hawk:

These are formidable looking birds. BIG. And as you might expect, he was pretty nonchalant about the presence of our friends the crows. While they caw-ed their little black heads off, he was doing the bird equivalent of calmly inspecting his manicure. You could see the crows gather, confer:

"dude, WTF!! He's in *our* tree. We *need* to get rid of him!!"

The crows continued on, undeterred. They were actually aiming their little beaks with the angry caws, right in the hawk's face. At this point, I'm standing in my driveway, just staring up at the birds. It was like getting free Discovery Channel. A few crows in a nearby tree caw-ed in sympathy.

Finally, some action. The crows got together and drew straws. The one that got the short one gathered himself, and flew over to perch next to the hawk, caw-ing courageously the whole way. At long last, the hawk appeared to actually notice their existence. He shifted, and then lifted his considerable wingspan and flew off. The crows banded together and flew after him, escorting him out of the neighborhood in satisfaction of a job well done.

I rushed, pink cheeked, to the car, to tell Hank all about the birdies. Suddenly, I hear the crows again. I hurry back to the driveway, and what do I see? The hawk, perched with a smirk of condescension plastered on his face, right back in the same tree. The crows are gathered nearby, and they're frantic:

"What the hell?! Damn it!"

By this point, they are emboldened and angry. Multple crows fly right in the hawk's face and caw. He gets up, flies away, and comes right back. By this time, Hank is in the driveway with me:

"Birdies! Oh, they no like that big birdie, do they mommy?"

I had to leave, so I bundled Hank into the car. As I pulled away, I spotted the hawk securely perched on the tree, ignoring the crows, while they caw-ed away nearby. I was seriously enamored with the entire interaction.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hacking, coughing...

Can't really blog :( I am seriously *incapacitated* by coughing. It's quite a sight to see.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Advent Wreath

I'm feeling very advent-y lately, so I thought I'm linger on this theme for a bit. I'm also sick - AGAIN. I'm not having a good, healthy winter, I tell you. Hank is sick too. He came into our bedroom last night about 1 am, laid on the floor next to my side of the bed, and I hear *thunk*. *bursting into tears* "MOMMY!!" Poor Hank. He's doing ok though; when he woke up in the morning, he told me that his nose hurt. Of course, it wouldn't if he didn't insist on wedging on our floor every night and consequently banging his face on my dresser. *sighs*

Anyway, the Advent wreath. I did a little research on its meaning. I love this stuff :) So, the candles symbolize the light of Christ, and the round wreath the eternity of God. A traditional Catholic wreath has 3 violet candles, and 1 rose. Priests' vestments will match the color of the candles for each of the 4 weeks in Advent. Each Sunday a new candle is lit. The violet symbolizes expectation, and the rose stands for joy and hope. The Sunday that the rose candle is lit is called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for "rejoice." It is the third candle to be lit, and I was always told that it means that Christmas is near, thus excitement :)

I have seen wreaths that incorporate a white candle to be lit on Christmas day. *Jealous* - I want one of those. I have a very simple Advent wreath with long tapers, like this one:

Seems like the Catholic Librarian should have more bells and whistles :) We *do* have a spectacular Christmas tree this year. I'll take a picture and bring it in. It's a Scotch Pine, and the nicest tree we've ever had. Hank is also enjoying a traditional chocolate Advent calendar. You know, it has those other worldly tasking German chocolates inside. YUM. Hank yanked open the first window yesterday, and asked with very wide eyes if he could eat it. Then he wanted another one, but I told him he had to wait until the next day :) I feel very in the Christmas spirit today...

Monday, December 1, 2008


The first Sunday of Advent was yesterday. One of the things I love the most about being Catholic is the liturgical calendar. I like having schedules and routines, and the Church calendar operates right into my hands in this respect :) The Church year begins with Advent, and I love the four week lead up to the feast of Christmas. I've always had an Advent wreath, and this year is no exception.

Mike and I attended the Saturday vigil at our parish, and actually walked to church, which was beautiful. Hank fell asleep in his stroller on the way (*angels sing*) and I got to actually enjoy the Mass without peeling a toddler off the floor and otherwise being distracted.

On one of the Catholic message boards that I frequent, I found a link to this article on Orthodox Advent preparations. Orthodox Christians fast during Advent, and eat mostly a vegetarian diet during this time period. They also avoid dairy and alcohol. I have a lot to say about how Eastern Christian spirituality and practices can inform Western Christians; I'll come back to that at Lent, definitely.

I could comment on Thanksgiving, but I'll refrain. Suffice to say that it involved me running around my house, upset and stressed, me breaking a bowl, and bursting into tears. Truly, Black Friday was better than the actual Thanksgiving holiday in the life of the Catholic Librarian this year.