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Happy New Year

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!
to all

baby on the way

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Birthday to Tiger Woods. The golfing wonder is now 31 years old. Congratulations to him and his wife: they have a baby on the way.

One of our cassette players wasn't working. So I spent some time excercising the FWD and REV functions, thinking that maybe it was just a little crusty from lack of use. I discovered that I could make it play just a little by cycling the pause button. Boy, I was real smug when I discovered that I could make it really play by only halfway depressing the pause button. Then I opened it to remove the tape and found several feet of accordion-ed tape. I tried to save what I could, resorting to splicing when I had to cut out a section that had been stretched to a thread (probably from my trying to yank it out of the machine where it stuck). Gee, can anyone remember the last time they had to splice a cassette tape? Can anyone remember having cassette tapes? Anyhow, so some of the tape is still good. But the best news of all: the player now plays.

it's a shame

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Hussein has been executed. It's a friggin' shame that capital punishment is still practiced. I have no sympathy for the guy, but answering violence with violence is not the way to go. If nothing else, it's dumb. This is what you do when you can't figure out an elegant solution--you basically try to "flush away your problem."

Dear God, teach us your ways and deliver us from darkness.

One Church One Community

Thursday, December 28, 2006


One Church One Community -- help rebuild our parishes

I love being Catholic

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why am I Catholic? Because Catholicism rings true to me; it makes sense. I agree that the cross doesn't have much meaning until Jesus got crucified on it and hence the crucifix upon which we gaze. It may be a surprise to Protestants, but yes, we Catholics are well aware that Jesus is risen. (Are Protestants aware that time is not linear for God?) It is of considerable value for me to gaze upon our Lord's suffering and sacrifice.

I believe that Jesus himself heads our Church, that we've an unbroken heritage all the way back to the apostles. It makes sense to me that we don't follow just the Bible, but tradition as well. Jesus didn't start a church by handing them a bible; neither did he say to his disciples, "Go forth and write a book." The printing press didn't arrive until much later in history; the people were generally uneducated, few were literate, and books were rare. Thus comes forth the rich Catholic art for telling the stories of the bible. (Though unfortunately, our exposure to such art is largely of a european bent giving the false impression that Christianity was a "white man's" religion.)

I love the richness of the variety of devotions, the stories of Saints, and love for Jesus' mother. I love that our priests are educated before they can become priests. I love that the order of the mass is relatively universal; that I can be out of town and yet still find a surrogate church home where I belong. I love that the church is not built around a priest, that another priest can come in take over the pastorship and we'd still be Catholic. I love that we don't sugar-coat life, that we can accept suffering and still gaze heavenward.

There is so much more I can say, but I think I'll stop here and go to bed.

my Christmas

Last week I was rather sleep deprived, so when I could go to bed at a reasonable time, I did so instead of blogging. Life is rather busy; surely you don't want to know every detail of my oh-so-ordinary life.

Christmas is going just fine. I got my tri-monthly hair cut/shear job on Saturday. Sunday we attended three masses: Sunday mass, one of the Christmas masses at my parish where I had volunteer duty, and then midnight mass at the cathedral. Much as I love our bishop, I dozed off a few times. It was cold in the cathedral and that only makes me sleepier. Monday was social time. Today was another social, then home for dinner and chilling out and getting ready for the week. It's back to work as usual tomorrow; we've a deadline at week's end.

It's sort of funny: the morning news on Christmas day showed various church celebrations. When it showed the Catholic celebration, the attendance was rather sparse with many empty pews. It must've been the 7am mass. Had they been there at midnight mass, they'd have scarcely found room for their camera--the cathedral was packed even with the choir in the balcony. I am fairly certain that every Christmas anticipatory mass at my own parish was packed as well.

I am a bit heavy hearted tonight. I just heard from my friend, a Sister; her mother is very ill with cancer. Somehow, I just don't think the cancer will go away this time. There is nothing that I can say that could possibly be of any help. I perused the Bible but did not find anything that seemed suitable. I did promise to keep them in my prayers. My blogging friends, please send a prayer their way. Thanks.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

C H R I S T M A S !
to all

find thy happiness

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I've been kinda bummed out for a while. Yeah, like I-don't-care-if-I-live-or-die bummed out. I've realized that I'm not very capable of making myself happy. That is not a good thing. It is unwise to enter into a relationship without first knowing how to care for your own happiness. You cannot rely on others to help you be happy. That's just not a good thing.

Even being mildly angry about the fact that the people in the city parts of China are not free to have more than one dog, and that the dog cannot be big, and that they have to get rid of the "extra" and bigger dogs they already own did not shake my bummedness.

I know I enjoy bicycling. I've just been too bummed out to drag myself out of bed in the wee hours of morning for that 7am or even 8am ride. I used to do it when I had a goal: the MS150 two-day ride from Houston to Austin. I don't have that goal anymore; my personal spending into the trip is a bit too much and the donation amount is more than I think I can beg for. But maybe I'll get my butt up and continue the rides anyways.

I also feel like I need to get away sometimes. I need more alone time at home, but that hardly ever happens. There's just two of us here, but the other party is almost always at home when I'm home.

So bicycling it will be. Maybe not this upcoming weekend though, since it's so close to Christmas.

survived another week

I've been generally bummed out. I slept late Saturday morning, so I ran my errands a little late and in fact miscalculated and was not able to complete one of the errands. Got to the Dominican morning prayer event a little late too.

I had a great time with the Dominicans. I was quite beautiful.

Then I came home and continued being bummed. I watched a show about boys and how some schools are trying to help boys in school by separating the girls and boys allowing the boys to have more physical activity in the classroom. I think that's a great idea. It will be a while before we see the results. It's so sad to see how some kids dropped out of school simply because they didn't have hope for the future. Gee, if only I could be there to tell them what I know, to hopefully give them the oomph to continue.

Then I put up some Christmas lights outside. You'd think by now I'd know to test a string of lights before putting them up. Oh well, I am bull-headed sometimes. Then I put up two garlands around the windows inside. Then Gumby and I started on the Crhistmas card list. It's a bit involved; I won't go into the details. Anyhow, after quitting that and taking my shower, I had about 2 hours of sleep then off to 7:30 a.m. mass.

I survived my scripture sharing talk. Thanks be to God. I had asked the Holy Spirit that my listeners would hear what the Holy Spirit intends, regardless of what comes out of my mouth. The person in charge was satisfied with my work, saying that I should have been doing this two years ago.

Here's the deal: I suffer from stage fright. I do not know what trauma has caused it, but it's beyond my control. I will start out ok, hence a short and brief talk like today works. But after a little bit, I will actually start to shake/shiver/quiver. I hide it as best as I can by tensing my muscles. I am as relaxed as I can be at the start, but my body will eventually do this weird thing. It was getting to that point this morning, but my talk ended before I have to be standing up in front of everybody like that. Instead, I continue my little fight in my seat (once it starts, it takes a while to go away). My other volunteer stint followed and it went ok, only a few glitches but nothing catastrophic. So it's been a good Sunday morning.

sight to see

Friday, December 15, 2006

There's this guy who hocks his wares at patch of green by a gas station on the corner of a busy street. I've seen him and his wares before; I'm thinking around Easter. Now it's around Christmas and he's back. And what are his wares?

He has a curious collection of animals. No, not live ones. They seem to be, on average 4-6 feet tall. And it doesn't matter what they are. It could be a frog or a horse, it'd still be 4-6 ft tall. It's a whole variety of animals there. The last time he was there they were all solid dark brown. Tonight he has them in a round pen, closely gathered. He might have been closed for business. Tonight, I saw what must have easily been a 10-ft rooster, white with large dots. It was standing all by itself outside of the pen. Since it was dark, I couldn't make out the colors of the dots (also, did I mention that it was a busy intersection, and that I was three lanes away?). I also saw a giraffe.

It is a marvelous sight to see.

I don't know who would want a 10-ft tall rooster in their yard, though. For sure it would turn some heads. The home owner's association, however, might just demand that the rooster be gone. But just imagine if the entire neighborhood would have one of these fine creatures in each front yard. Now we're talking Texas!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dunno. Looks like time and energy just zooms away. I missed quite a few daily masses this past week. I can't even remember the week too well. We did have a sung vespers followed by a short concert on Thursday night and Immaculate Conception mass on Friday night. Saturday I attended a talk on St. Francis of Assisi. This Saturday eve and the Saturday before I attended mass at the Dominican convent. Mass with the Dominicans is a rare occurence because their mass is on Saturday and pretty much in the middle of "errand time."

Next Saturday I hope to attend the Dominican morning prayer event for discerners.

I asked Tonto that we not have a big Christmas this year. We've spent some major dollars on car repairs in October and this month. Thanksgiving was no small dinner. We've also spent quite a bit on some new clothes this month. I felt that the spending was getting out of control.

We have yet to work on our Christmas cards. However, we have purchased them--enough for at least 100 receipients plus some for this other person who is not able to get out and shop.

Work feels chaotic. We are at the beginning stages and the situation has been quite fluid. I'm kinda waiting for things to gel at the upper levels, and for clearer direction to flow down. In the meantime, we on the lower levels are still required to keep churning, quite regardless of whether we are churning in the right direction.

Building management threw a pary last week and offered a lunch for all their tenants. Department Christmas party will be this week. Company Christmas party next week.

This coming up Sunday I am on hook to share my reflections on the Gospel reading in one of my volunteer gigs. That's a first for me. I'm also up for the other volunteer gig. This, after being off of both volunteer gigs for at least 3 weeks.

See ya. Stay warm. Stay safe. May all be kind to you.


Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm saddened to hear that James Kim did not survive his ordeal. I had been following the story for several days, marveling at his resourcefulness and hoping that he'd beat the odds. May he rest in peace, knowing that he saved his family.

May we remember to stock our cars with emergency supplies, including a thermal blanket. There are numerous survival kits out there, some fitting in a sardine can, that are probably very much worth the investment: something with which to start a fire, a compass, something reflective for signalling, a whistle (sure beats yelling), some sort of cutting tool and so on--I don't really know all the contents. A whistle is good to have on hand at all times.

Spirit of Christmas?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I was at the post office. I had one piece of mail to send off. I walked up to the slot and there was a lady there. She had a stack of mail. I estimated that she would have to divide the stack into four smaller ones to fit them through the slot. Thanks to 911, they no longer have the door that allows you to make a big dump; all mail has to go through the slot. She was directly in front of the slot and I was next to it. So after he made her first drop and was "reloading," I stepped forward saying "Excuse me," and slid in my one piece of mail. Then I started to walk away.

"Or you could wait until I finished," she said.
I thought she was joking. I attempted a weak smile and kept walking.
"It would be in the spirit of Christmas, you know" she continued.
Since I am a little dense, I was just then starting to realize as I kept walking that she wasn't joking.

I had no idea that my little intrusion was offensive. I'm used to being around folks who would gladly give you the last piece of pie, or let you go ahead in line because you had just a few groceries, or step aside from the copy machine because you needed just one copy and they had a book to do. It never occurred to me that anyone would object to my stepping in for a split second; no idea that I was violating the spirit of Christmas.

Help me out folks, would you agree that I should have waited until she finished? Or should I have asked if I can jump in?