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Whitewater Christmas here.  The beat-and-retreat of driving rain on the roof and and stained glass punctuated this morning’s liturgy.  The playground was  a swimming pool; we sprinted to and from the car.  (But not cold!  Barefeet, very happy, taking the compost out after breakfast during a break in the rain.  Window-fogging warm — very nice.)  The grooves on the interstate were full of water —  had to drive a foot to the left of usual to avoid hydroplaning.

We closed the Christmas Mass with “Joy to the World”: Let fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy. I’ve been singing those lines my entire life, but I’m afraid I’ve always given more attention to the hills and fields.  Today the floods finally got their chance.  Hopefully they will not get carried away in their repeating.

Merry Christmas.

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(this being the traditional week for ‘site maintenance’) . . . the hands  (mine) are asking for a little kinder treatment.  In an effort to pull a few straws off the camels’ backs, am going to put this blog and Riparians on hold — along with a few other real-life low-priority items.  Archery, stuff like that.

Next post when it comes out will be the review of Dark Night of the Soul, save a possible PSA if something else happens that might.  No particular deadline in mind, and not sure when I’ll resume the regular posting schedule.  Meanwhile visit the links, get to work on your New Year’s Resolutions, take up a hobby — I’m sure you’ll think of something.  I’ll be back to writing here as soon as practical to do so.

Take care & Happy New Year!

Overall it’s been a quiet month at the castle.  Life is good.

Latin Watch: SuperHusband is joining us in the effort.  He attended a workshop on Gregorian chant, just the thing for an engineer who loves music.  He is the type who has the technical ability to understand and lead; I am pure seat-filler material — I’ll enthusiastically follow and join in, but will never be mistaken for one of the musicians.  In between services just send me to the scriptorium or something.

SCA: Went to a weekend-long event this month, had a fabulous time.  SuperHusband, Mr. Boy & Aria competed in the archery, little girls and I mostly drifted around and picnicked.  SH also got an intro to fencing (rapier, in SCA terms), which subsequently turned into a newly-discovered love for heavy fighting.  When they say ‘heavy’, they aren’t kidding — he brought home some loaner-armor last night, and wow, steel plate weighs a ton.  New appreciation for the services of a good squire.

Other Field Trips:  Went to the zoo with some new friends from church.  The other mom is also the sit-and-observe type, which makes for a more relaxing zoo visit.  Find a nice animal, settle in, watch for a while.  Repeat.  Good event.   And then today we watched some young dance friends perform in the Nutcracker.  Or so I assume, couldn’t actually see faces well enough from our seats to pick them out, so we’ll figure they must have danced very well, and therefore blended with the rest of the troupe.  Aria of course wants to participate next year, certain mothers at this castle are encouraging another year off, or two, or three, before doing it again.  Big committment as far as rehearsal times and all that.

The Ailment: Eh, spoke too soon last month.  In a bid for decreased mysteriousness, the ailment is getting interesting again.  Interesting to me, anyway — it is amusing to see how otherwise ho-hum symptoms can be absolutely captivating when yours is the body enjoying them.  So my new hobby this month is tremor-watching — mostly right hand, intermittent, all very mild, just enough to know Something is Not Right, not significant enough to cause any actual interference with daily life — above and beyond the unavoidable obsessing over it.  Blessedly still staying below the threshold of interest for itchy neurologists.  This suits me fine; I can sit quite content with any ailment that agrees to stay in the spectator-sport realm of neurological quirkiness.  We’ll see.

Cleaning House: I’ve finally gone and done it.  Or at least, a good chunk of it.  It’s a good year for de-cluttering, what with all the bad economic news — you can be confident that the local thrift stores will have plenty of customers.  So all that spare stuff will get to a good home.  Still need to finish sorting some kids’ clothes, and then attack the aged-paper collection and the lifetime supply of extraneous photos.

***

In the month ahead . . .

Thanksgiving tour tomorrow – Nanny & Pop’s for the midday meal, and then back to TR’s again this year for a late-afternoon feast.   Might try to get out for a hike over the long weekend, and do odds and ends around the house; some friends are bringing adults dinner Sunday night, looking forward to that.

Advent is on its way, and once again I find myself candle-less.  Must rectify that situation early next week, would like to get a little advent wreath assembled for the CCD class.  Also want to come up with a nice advent-y prayer to close class with each week for the month.

Holy-day mania . . . Advent is terribly festive for us, what with St. Nicolas day, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Immaculate Conception — so much to celebrate.  Good problem to have.  And adding to the excitement: Aria has learned to make coffee!!  Which means that we are now ready for a proper observance of St. Lucy’s day.   She’s thrilled, and so are her parents.  Mornings are a very happy time for us now.

Caroling? Not sure.  Don’t want to host a party this year, do want to go caroling.  If I can get up a respectable contingent of enthusiastic singers, we’ll do it.  Will do some practicing during school regardless.  You can’t know too many good hymns.

***

Not sure whether Dark Night will be done in time to review for this month of long dark nights, or if it’ll fall more into the pre-lenten season.  Am ‘enjoying’ it, to the extent that one can enjoy listening St. John of the Cross tell it like it is.  The trouble with people who know what they are talking about, is that they don’t necessarily tell you what you wanted to hear.  Good stuff, highly recommended.  And much more readable than I had feared.

Meanwhile, have a great Thanksgiving, and see you in December!

Finally got fed up with having to sit at the computer to get the news, renewed my long-lapsed subscription to the WSJ.  That still leaves the local paper to check on-line — I want to get local news, but I’m not ready for quite that much mulch.

Am going to take a computer break in general, btw.  Will subscribe to a couple key kick-in-the-pants-sermons type blogs, and will keep posting here and at Riparians, as well as checking e-mail.  But if you see me at your blog, kindlly tell me to go clean my house.  Which is what I am supposed to be doing with my newly-liberated time.

The book came.  Woohoo!  It looks readable.  Fun.  Appropriate for junior readers like myself.  As Mr. Boy observes, “It is thinner than the other book [Jesus of Nazareth]“.  Exactly the kind of book I really really love.  I’ll try to get the review up for the 3rd Friday of October over at Riparians, because it is very appropriate reading going into All Saints.  Falls well enough into the ‘history’ category on that blog.

[Cross-posted means I copied and pasted this straight from my other blog.  Since I thought it might be of interest to readers of both.  To get to the part that truly interests you, scroll down to the bit about the coupon code for free shipping at the Catholic Company.  But if you already read it at Riparians, it says *exactly the same thing* here.  So go read something else now.]

The good news is, I got accepted at the Catholic Company to be one of their reviewers. Yay! I love reviewing books.

More good news: They are still accepting reviewers.  That could be you.  Learn more at:

http://www.catholiccompany.com/content/Catholic-Product-Reviewer-Program.cfm

The bad news is, when I went to pick out my first book, I *thought* I was clicking on ‘product information’ when I saw a title called The Fathers.  Because I was thinking that of the choices available, the new teen novel sounded about my speed (I have teenaged godchildren.  I have to keep up with this stuff).  But I wanted to just take a look at this other interesting title before I made a final decision.  But I accidentally  made the final decision then and there.

Which means good news: I’m supposed to be getting a free copy of the holy father’s new book. (Oh yeah, *that* book about the Apolostic Fathers.   Oops.)

Bad news of course being that I am now required to *read the whole book*.  In order to review it.  Ack!  This is work!  I meant to do something fun!  By which I meant, something easy!

The good news is, it should be good for me.  Truth is, I did want to get the book.  I just couldn’t justify buying it until I finished Jesus of Nazareth, which is still sitting in my living room waiting for me to finish it.  Not dusty, I might add, because several other neglected books were sitting on top of it.

Not sure which blog I will put the review on yet.  We’ll see.

Good news for you: The Catholic Company ( http://www.catholiccompany.com/ ) is offering a free shipping coupon.  Here is the note for the announcement e-mail:

On a much happier note, we have a special offer this week for your blog readers.  We are offering free shipping from now until Midnight Sunday…on any size order.

If you think that this is something your readers would be interested in knowing about, then please spread the word.

1. Simply place an order. You can place this order through our website, by phone, by fax, or by mail.

2. Use this coupon code: BLOG

If you order online you will type in the coupon code during checkout. Simply type BLOG in the coupon code box located at the bottom of the payment page.

If you order by phone simply tell the coupon code BLOG to your customer service agent.

If you order by mail or fax simply include the coupon code BLOG on your order form.

*Terms and conditions: This offer cannot be combined with any other offers. Applies to U.S. delivery addresses only. Applies to standard shipping only. Cannot be used on orders already placed or on backorders. Offer expires at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time on Sunday, September 28, 2008.

By the way, I am all about supporting your local catholic bookstore, if you have one.  So nobody go neglecting a real live starving bookstore owner on account of free shipping at an internet company.  (Even if they do send me a free book that will make me have to pay attention and think for a change.)  After all, your local shop doesn’t charge shipping ever, if you just go pick it up yourself.  But if you are an unlucky soul who *needs* to order online, there’s your coupon.

Ahh, you knew it would happen.  Your post for yesterday is *nearly* finished.  Had a few unplanned interuptions, and some just plain poor time management.  I’ll have it up today, just as soon as I get my house cleaned up, unless something really crazy happens.

Meantime, a word from the Holy Father:

I say “prepare yourselves,” because real love does not happen suddenly. Beyond sentiment, love is made of responsibility, constancy and a sense of duty. One learns all of this through the prolonged practice of the Christian virtues of trust, purity, abandonment to Providence and prayer.

Address to Youth, 7 September 2008
As posted at A Beggar for Love.
Have a good day, see you this afternoon.  (And yes, if you follow my other blog, disaster has struck there as well.  I have *lost* the book that  a) I was supposed to review for tomorrow and b) must go back to the library today.  One chapter shy of the finish, no less.  Good news is, I have an alternate book to review if I must, and the library does give a grace day before fines kick in.   Let’s just say that organizational skills are not at an all-time high here at the castle.

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