December 30, 2011

This & That


Saw an old black man in deepest Hamilton, Ohio on Christmas Eve, his face like a topographical map of age and wisdom, walking not far from a corner Mom & Pop grocery, his hands clutching a brown paper bag which presumably held a 40-ounce beer or a bottle of vino. It was about 4 pm, and I instantly saw him as alone, but then/now think he could have a wife or son or daughter and was merely buying something to share with them. But somehow I doubt it. Kinda sad.

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I like what St. Patrick's does to honor the "already and not yet-ness" of the Advent season: they put up Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and kings but no baby Jesus until the actual day. Next time I'll have to do that although admittedly the baby is hardly noticeable on our mantle. But I would know he's not yet there.  I like the idea of the manger scene being up during Advent because it keeps the goal in mind: the Incarnation. There's no question that Advent & Christmas are my favorite liturgical seasons, by far.  Lent reminds me of suffering, His and my own tiny amount, while Easter seems always of a false cheer quality, a premature celebration given our own lack of resurrected bodies.  Ordinary time is, well, a tad ordinary, albeit there's nothing ordinary about the Mass and Eucharist of course! But Advent and Christmas? Pure bliss.  I think if this season came in January I'd be slightly more a fan of that dastardly cold month! 

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Last night saw the movie "The Descendants" starring George Clooney and the Hawaiian land/seascape.  Rather dismal despite the latter and was universally panned by those who saw it, although it did hold our interest.

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Today or tomorrow would be a good day to go to Darby Metro Park. I recall walking the long path up to the place where wild deer, once in a blue moon, might be seen, walking those steep-raked hills like ghosts. The surprise of seeing the unexpected in nature recalls the spiritual surprise of seeing God in the quotidian.

Mornings are not broken when it comes to vacation mornings. I enjoy the pacific tendency of early to bed/late to rise. I gather breakfast in a leisurely fashion, sometimes as late as 10:30. Today we had a guy drive down from Cleveland to put in an alarm system.  I found it alarming, to say the least, when every time you open a door you hear a loud "ding, ding!". Fortunately Steph read the owner's manual and was able to soften that down to a dull roar. 

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Heather King had a guest blogger yesterday. That's usually English for "you can skip this post." But the priest was so incredibly in my comfort zone talking about comfort zones; I was simultaneously encouraged and discouraged, encouraged that even a priest has such issues but discouraged that my own laziness and love of creature comforts was so nakedly exposed.

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So now I listen to more of Josh Groban's hymns of Christmas because I haven't heard any since the morning of the 25th. Like the flip of a switch, the radio stations have determined Christmas season over. They who so assiduously and early announced to us Christmas now announce it done (since no more gifts are being purchased), thus skewing the twelve days of Christmas to Dec. 13-25. Got to go to the iPod as a corrective.

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It's not widely known, but December 26th is also known as "National Introvert Recovery Day".

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One of the great ways to pass long drives is to listen to downloaded Brian Lamb's C-Span podcasts. Enjoyed the author Simon Winchester's hour-long interview, he of "The Professor and the Madman" fame, a book I've long thought about reading.

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