April 2008

Edited to say: The photo is now appearing right-side-up, but smushed.  I make no predictions about what will happen next time I go to view the site.  Not unlike the time all my interests in my profile were turned into numbers.  See all the excitement you get here?  You know you love it.


Every single one of our First Communion photos needs to be rotated.  And though I can get "my computer" to rotate, and I can get photobucket to rotate, I cannot convince homeschoolblogger to rotate.  Think of it as an opportunity to stretch your neck.

    Anyhow, here is Mr. Boy, posing with our parish priest, after receiving his first holy communion.  

    We were very pleased with our DRE, a woman whose many years of experience with children resulted in such practical tips as "do not make funny faces when you receive communion".  Also there was a ban on photos during mass, due the parish’s many years of experience with adults.   Made for an appropriately reverent atmosphere.


    For those who are wondering about how the SuperHusband and I came to an agreement on whether Mr. Boy ought to be catholic or protestant, the answer is: we didn’t.   Our goal to date has been to emphasize the many shared beliefs we hold, and to avoid discussing our few differences unless it specifically comes up (and it generally doesn’t.)

    Mr. Boy was interested in receiving communion, and so he went ahead with the preparation our parish requires.  He also started attending mass every Sunday once canon law required it — in the early years we have not been particular about which nursery the kids go to.  (We are helped by the fact the our two churches rarely, if ever, teach anything to the kids that the other parent finds objectionable.)

    This spring our parish priest confirmed that no, the boy could not receive communion in both churches.  Reasonable enough, but puts a seven-year-old in a difficult position, having to decide whether to go with mom’s church, dad’s church, or neither.   We let him know that he could prepare for first communion without being obligated to make a final decision until he was ready to do so.

   But how to decide?   No fair making a little kid have to sift through all the arguments of the reformation.  So we told him just to pray.  He did, every night for weeks.   As the decision date neared, we asked him what he thought God was telling him to do.  He said he thought it was to be catholic.  We both kept straight faces — no encouragement or discouragement from either parent.  When we got to where I needed him to let me know whether he was going to receive FHC this spring, so that we could make plans with the parish and invite friends and family, he confirmed that catholic calling.

    And that’s how we did it.  Not saying it is the only way or the best way to handle a mixed marriage, but it’s what we did.  Told all that because sometimes people ask us.


    One of the advantages of reading the lives of the saints is that you begin to know heroic virtue when you see it.   It came to my attention the other day that a dear of friend of mine had been busy being just that type of hero.  I knew she had been going through some miserable trials, but I hadn’t known just how self-sacrificially she had faced up to them.

  (I won’t embarrass her by sharing details, and any case, you can almost never explain these things properly.)

    Real heroism, by definition, comes at great personal cost.  And you hate to see your friends suffering.  But it was the most beautiful privilege, to have gotten that little glimpse into her life, and thereby been a witness to unquestionable saintliness, right there in a beloved friend.  All the more moving because my friend is like me, an ordinary Christian who has her share of weaknesses and personal struggles.  If she can answer this call, then maybe when my time comes, there is hope for me, too.

    Just cried with joy all through mass Sunday (having forgotten to bring kleenex, ahem), thinking about the beautiful example she had set for her friends and family, and the miracle of how Christ is willing to work through us in this way.
    Lovely stuff.  I was one grateful lady in the pews.  Read the lives of the saints. 

Quick explanation for my absence — mystery ailment’s been giving me a little trouble.   Seems to be re-improving though.  I ought to make a special entry category called "excuses for not blogging". 

    The neighbors’  house, lately known as The Pink House, has now been recovered with white vinyl siding.  Looks nice — the overall effect is reminiscent of the many white-clapboard farmhouses around this part of the world.  Changes the way light reflects into our house and yard: brighter, but no more of the warm sunrise-color we used to get. 

    The biggest surprise though, was discovering that the neighbor’s ornamental cherry tree, which shades the castle yard, has pale pink blossoms — not white as previously thought.  The neighborhood is all in flower right now, and the cherry tree is starting to drop its petals, covering the rosemary thicket where the Bun has made herself a hideout, and all the ground around it, right there at the foot of the castle.  Very magical.


An assortment updates:

    School is doing okay!  Been holding strong in math, working Mr. Boy’s writing skills through a manic effort to complete his religious-ed materials prior to FHC, and unschooling (which, for us, is not as "un" as the experts tell us it ought to be) has been working very well as always in the social studies, science, and literature departments.  Will get back  to work on spelling-diligence now that the big FHC push is past, and there’s a move afoot to re-renew our efforts at French as well.

    In the garden . . . we missed our window for putting in a spring garden, but there is talk of sowing seeds for some summer vegetables sometime next week.   A place for the corn is already ready; if I can get some oregano moved, we’ll have room for a some extras above and beyond the mandatory tomatoes and watermelon. 

    Pansies, everyone will be glad to know, did quite well this year.  In a revolutionary break-through, we discovered that movable containers are, in fact, movable.  What does this mean?  It means no more traumatic pulling out of annuals that are still limping along into their successor’s season.  With the warmer weather — we’ve made the switch from trying to keep the house warm, to trying to keep it cool — the pansies have retreated to a shadier a corner where they can enjoy their golden months, and I can happily plant some basil and marigolds without agonizing over untimely pansy-death. 

    Lots of interesting bird action this year.  In addition to the usual visits to the feeder from migrants — spring and fall are interesting that way — a pair of Carolina wrens attempted to build a nest in the mailbox by the castle; we even moved the mailbox up out of toddler’s reach once we discovered their plans.  They seem, however, to have thought better of this reproductive strategy, and presumably have moved on to a quieter location.  Disappointing, but we had fun watching them build. 

    In mystery ailment "news": still a mystery.  Thought we had it sufficiently figured out, and was pleased it with its apparent steady retreat.  Last week, in an effort, no doubt, to probe into the depths of my sanity, the dear old m.a. decided to make a confusing re-appearance.  Has eased off again this week, hopefully will continue to do so.  Who knows.   Using the always-handy guessing method to figure out what helps and what doesn’t, fortunately symptoms are staying quite mild and manageable.

    Hands-permitting, in the queue for the blog includes the long-promised (still unwritten) bits about structures of justice and other living-wage topics, some photos by LP, and the very overdue updating of the links in the sidebar.  All to be delivered with the usual timeliness. Ahem.