Tuesday, December 30, 2008
(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
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
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
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
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
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
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
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
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
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.