Thursday, January 29, 2009
So, with my amazon booty this year, I thought ahead to Lent and the new devotions I'd like to start in the hopes of fostering a new habit that I keep up, and I researched Bibles. As quickly becomes the case with any online research I do, I became absorbed and wiled away hours and hours doing this, and I loved every minute of it :) I looked into the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, translated by some highly regarded Catholic apologists and published by the orthodox Ignatius Press. Impressive, definitely, but I have to admit it's a bit too "scholarly" even for the Catholic Librarian. I also couldn't find one in the format I'd like, aesthetics-wise. I have paperback Bibles (they rip) and plain hardback (binding broken). I wanted something a bit sturdier. I'm hard on books :)
My interest was piqued by the New American Bible, frequently used at Mass. I had a paperback of this translation in the past, and it was always my favorite. It disintegrated rather quickly, but I used it in a Bible study that I belonged to in law school, and I really liked it. It has extensive footnotes included throughout the text, and the translation is more aimed at regular people, if you know what I mean, but not as loosey goosey (not a bad thing at all, it's just a difference) as the Good News Bible or The Message. I own a copy of the New Testament edition of The Message and really like it, that's just a completely different entity. Check it out at amazon, it's the Bible translated sort of like a novel. It's cool.
Anyway, I viewed numerous adorable New American Bibles. Different colors, cute zip-up cases, one with a magnetic close. This was more of what I was looking for. I finally settled upon a New American Bible published by Fireside, a well-regarded publisher of Catholic Bibles, called the Catholic Companion edition. Couldn't you just die with how cute that name is? It has a soft, faux leather cover, and is embossed with a crucifix on the front, and a full rosary on the back:
I received it this week, and it's *beautiful*. I chose the burgundy, pictured above, but they also make it with a black cover/tan back, and ivory cover/pink back, and these have a one decade rosary on the back. They are all really, really pretty. You can see them here. They have a full dictionary at the back (the librarian in me really digs this sort of built-in reference material) with all kinds of cool entries, like "Patron Saints" with a full listing of key saints (I found that St. Ferdinand III is the patron of engineers, at Mike's request, just from this list), and "Eastern Catholic Churches" with a full description of each. They also include maps, a listing of all popes with years of reign, and a beautiful silk ribbon to keep your place. I love mine, and I've been a good Bible reader and have read a chapter each evening. I'm starting in the New Testament (I get very bogged down in the Old Testament right around Leviticus) and so far, I'm loving the footnotes and the format. It only takes a little bit to make the Catholic Librarian very, very happy.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This particular reference hour has been filled with some doozies. Allow me to elaborate. The amusing one appears first.
(1) Clueless looking guy asking about the journal collection. "Hi, yeah, I was just upstairs? With the journals? Yeah, it says that they are, um, *non-circulating*, yeah, that's it. Non-circulating. What does that mean? I can't check them out, right? Oh, I can check them out for 2 hours? Great. But where could I then go to photocopy them for free?" The Catholic Librarian can do many things, but she cannot make a free photocopier materialize out of thin air. This was the easy one; it gets better.
(2) Introduction to Chemical Literature students are lurking in the reference collection. I hear them talking, looking over sources that appear to have been composed in a foreign language with no discernible index to making sense of anything. They keep glancing nervously at the reference desk. I'm fearing them. I'm really fearing them.
(3) Female student approaches with a tattered list of citations clutched in her hand. She actually encompasses 3 of the 6 aforementioned panic-causing interactions. She appears to be doing reseach for a faculty member, and the list states at the outset that "some of these citations may be incorrect or incomplete." Oh great, just make my day. One of the citations is for a journal title that is abbreviated, I KID YOU NOT, "J.D.E." What in the name of all that is holy does that stand for? The next citation is for a conference paper from some mathematics conference held in the 70's. Oh yes, all the librarians know where I'm going with this. It was one of those eeeeeevvvvvvviiiilllllll monographic series. And finally, we had the German-language mathematics journal. Oh, and let's not forget the citation to some mysterious sounding title that was "preprint." What? Pre-publication? In-press? A Worldcat and a Google (I was desperate, don't judge me) search turned up a big fat nothing aside from the very printout in the student's hot little hand. This source doesn't even *exist* yet and yet someone is citing it. Great, just great. The only good thing about the end of this interaction was that the chemistry students had left the area. I think it would have broken me to have dealt with them as well.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Cute, huh? Don't be fooled. This guy can rip small birds and other creatures to shreds in mid-air. Kestrels are actually in the falcon family, and are skilled hunters. But I admit, I find the picture very cute too :) Anyway, we head out there, and catch a fleeting glimpse of a female Kestrel scaring the absolute living daylights out of a flock of pigeons. I actually once saw a pigeon meet an unfortunate end at the claws of a Cooper's Hawk:
Just consider the Cooper's Hawk the larger cousin of our Kestrel. These are formidable birds of prey. Any pigeon just hangin' out on campus is in danger of being someone's next meal all.the.time. Plus, let's face it, pigeons aren't very bright. They coo right along until a dark shadow appears atop their heads. Anyway, I digress. We briefly spot the Kestrel, but by time we turn around (we had to drive; our campus is so ridiculously laid out) Miss Kestrel was no where to be found. Naturally. It's like they know I'm looking for them.
Later, I'm exiting campus, heading home. Up on a lamp post, Miss Kestrel is casually hanging out, waiting for some pigeons to cluelessly happen by. I nearly drove my car into a snow bank trying to get a closer look. She was quite dainty; you know, for a raptor. Very small for a falcon. But lovely. And scary looking, to be sure. I enjoy looking for her now each time I drive past that area of campus on my way home. Even birds of prey are my friends :)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Of coruse, being perky does not come naturally to me. When Claire tells us to "have a good time with it" and put some sass into our hips and smiles, I cringe a little inside. Rather than "look cute!" I'm more likely to "sweat profusely" but I do what I can. Claire showed us some new arms to go with our hips, explaining that the well-known bellydancer Aziza uses these arms with her hands making a pulling motion, like she's "pulling" her hips. Apparently, she does this with her chest also. I'm certain that Aziza pulls this off quite nicely, because as Claire says "she's absolutely adorable," but your Catholic Librarian just comes off looking stiff and paranoid. We'll get there.
As I usually do, I bought myself my own birthday present, and told Mike he's off the hook :) I am the proud owner of a brand new silver velvet hip scarf, and I'm tremendously excited. I plan to make lots of noise with it this weekend.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
But I have always been in love with books. I'm always reading one. Always. I love playing with a new one when I get it fresh from Amazon or from the library; flipping it over, reading the back cover and flaps, paging through it, looking at included photographs. I even like the way books smell.
My book habit has always been expensive to maintain (hey, it's a vice, but I maintain that it's much more wholesome than other vices one could have :) so, given that we're down to one income, plus we have a little mouth to feed, I've taken to requesting most of the books I read from our local public library. I'm loving this new system. I usually read 1-2 books per week, so this public library angle has really come in handy.
My genre of choice in recent years has been religious non-fiction, particularly personal spiritual memoirs. Despite my addiction to reading, I've never been a fan of real heavy, academic books on religious studies. As soon as deep, theological arguments get underway, my eyes start to cross and I begin to skim. I like personal narratives. Stuff about real people and the spiritual journeys and challenges they face. I do read a lot of books authored by Catholics, but I really read a lot of spiritual memoirs by members of other faiths, non-Catholic Christian and Jewish. The books I'm reading right now is excellent, written by a female Jewish rabbi, I promise to devote a whole post to it when I'm finished :)
Lately, my consumption of religious memoirs has reached a fevered pitch. I've been getting an excellent selection of titles from the library (check out my LibraryThing library for specifics). Most recently, I went to pick up my holds, and the librarian actually arched an eyebrow at me: "you have 4 books here; do you want them all now?" I'm still well within the 3 week borrowing period, and I'm on book #4. Yes, I'm a book nerd, what can I say?
This has all gotten me to thinking: I wonder if I should write one myself one day? I'm a private person, so writing makes me feel "exposed" sometimes. But obviously I like to write, just based on this blog alone. This blog has given my latent writing desires room to grow and be creative in a way that I haven't been since high school. I'm very grateful for that. It seemed that I went to law school and although that experience honed my writing skills in a good way, all of my creativity was sucked out. I never had the desire to write for pleasure again until very recently.
Besides the private thing, I also don't have anything particularly dramatic in my spiritual story. No eclectic conversion to Wicca or ancient Celtic spirituality and then back to my Catholic roots, or something cool like that :) So we'll see. But my writing desires, previously neutralized to mandatory library literature, are back in full force. We'll see what happens :)
Friday, January 16, 2009
At any rate, I'm headed home to grill turkey burgers and make brown rice before heading to bellydance. My hip circles are pretty rusty.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
"oh. I see now. I didn't read the directions."
Amen. This is the epitome of my existence as an academic librarian :)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So, what I'm going to do is not add books that are already in my collection at home, but the titles that I'm reading as the year goes on. I inevitably re-read all of my owned favorites anyway, so they'll make their way on there. I can also write book reviews on there, rate them, and get other suggestions on stuff to read. This is making my librarian hormones go into an excited overdrive.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
So anyway, what I dislike about St. Ann's is manyfold. Is that a word? Anyway, it's large and pointy and sort of vacuous. Here's a particular pet peeve: it has *abstract* stained glass. Isn't the point of stained glass to tell the Gospel story? Sigh. Not sure what is up with this, but bulletins aren't left out in the open so that just any Catholic librarian can snap one up while coming into Mass for perusual during the collection. They're squirreled away and then doled out after Mass by the ushers. Why? Don't they trust us to not read them during the homily? But the thing that bothers me the most about this church layout is that the tabernacle isn't at the front. It's in the back, in the daily Mass chapel. This bothers me quite a bit. The Eucharist is a central part of our faith, and it should be central in our worship spaces.
Those are the constants. Each time I go to Mass there, I notice something else. Like this time, when I went to Mass for the feast of Mary, Mother of God. We go in, sit down, attempt to pray. Suddenly, we're interrupted by the music director, guitar in hand:
"ok everybody, the opening hymn is going to be 'God is With Us,' Number 553 in your hymnals. Let's practice the opening verse together."
I won't relay what went through my head, because it was most uncharitable. I don't want to practice hymns before Mass unless I'm in the choir, particularly not when they're being led by a guitar. Guitars in other contexts are fine, but I loathe them in Mass. And I really don't want to be coaxed to sing by a bossy music director.
The following Saturday evening, Mike and I were going to dinner in another town, so chose to find a church nearer the restaurant where we could attend the vigil. Well holy smokes. We pull up, and Mike says "oh look, there it is." I look up, and swear to God, I averted my eyes. This church was so ugly, it was like I had seen something disturbing. I may have actually shuddered. The inside was even worse. Abstract stained glass abounded, and the entire shebang looked like a convention center. I couldn't find the holy water fonts, and then realized I was supposed to have used the immersion baptismal pool for these purposes. And this isn't architecture-related, but Florida-related: it was so bloody cold from the a/c, the pages of my Missal were blowing in the artificially forced breeze. It was 70 degrees outside; why on *earth* would we need air conditioning? We're not polar bears.
Anyway, the liturgy was actually quite nice, I was pleasantly surprised. No bossy music director in sight. Just a simple organist with a trio of excellent singers. Given that it was the Epiphany, there was a holographic star up above the altar, which I rolled my eyes at. The priest made a really good joke though about the star, saying he feared he was having a vision when he first saw it. "You do also see this star, don't you?!"
So, ugly church #2 in fact turned out better than I would have anticipated. I just don't understand why "new" always has to be translated into "modern." I go by the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" mentality.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Another bird that I see each time I go to central Florida are Sandhill Cranes. These are magnificently graceful large birds that actually mate for life.When one is eating or otherwise distracted, his/her mate very stoicly keeps watch. They're truly beautiful birds to observe.
And the Palm Warbler: