Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You have to love cow jokes.

Cows and Catholics...

Cows and politicians...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

He is risen!

I went to Dallas for Good Friday to sing - SO worth it.  Got back to CC in the afternoon on Saturday, just in time to unpack, visit a bit with the sis, and head to the Vigil.  I'd never been to a Tridentine Easter vigil before.  At Cistercian the monks always made the bonfire in front of the church, opened the doors, and brought the candle in while everybody stayed in their places.  Last night the entire congregation plus the monks shivered outside for 15 minutes and watched the bonfire, knelt on the flint rocks for the "Lumen Christi," and processed in by candlelight.  I'll tell ya, though, holding a candle and turning the pages in your missal at the same time is quite a balancing act.

So two and a half hours later we were all significantly chilled, and most of the youngsters were experiencing the sleep-schedule-disruption-high that is so very thrilling while it lasts.  I went home with my favorite goat herders, because we had plans at dawn for hymns on Eagle's Bluff.

Eagle's Bluff at dawn is highly recommended, more so if it hasn't been flooding a week or so back.  Unfortunately, we did have flooding a week or so ago and the banks of the creek were washed out, so the truck couldn't make it through.  But where there's a will there's a way, apparently, even if it means braving 40 degree creeks with sharp rocky bottoms in the clear pink light and all the consequent chill of near-dawn.  But adventures make the heart grow fonder, or whatever, and I suspect that it was more of a bonding experience than it would have been had it been less painful.  The view from Eagle's Bluff was well worth the inconvenience, though, and since the sun was behind us we got to watch the first rays of sunlight falling on the trees way down below us.

Easter at Dawn is such a special moment, but until today I hadn't ever been up for it.  When you go to the Vigil you come out feeling rather like the two Marys when they first found the empty tomb - you know He's risen, but the rest of the world is still asleep and in darkness.  But at dawn the light of the Resurrection puts the shadows to flight, and in all the world no ignorance or lies can stand for long against it.  I guess it's a good lesson for our times, too, when it's so easy to believe that either the world is impossible to save (going to hell in a handbasket! or whatever), or that if the world is to be saved, it has to be through our own efforts against all odds.  But if the world is dark with ignorance and lies, then we are the people living between the Vigil and the dawn, and while we hold on to our faith and the knowledge that He is risen, we can not even begin to imagine the Dawn that is going to break, when He comes again.

Here is a really beautiful description of the Tridentine Easter vigil, from the woman who is my ideal of a mother of a beautiful family.  (Well, besides Mary, but there's the standard of perfection and then there's a model you might possibly hope to live up to, and Mary didn't have original sin, after all.)

(Every time I do links they disappear, so you're going to have to copy and paste)

"After the official liturgy is fulfilled, there still comes for us the observance of some ancient religious customs that belong to the liturgy of the home. In the lantern we take home some of the new blessed Easter light, with which we shall relight the vigil lamp at home. The bottle we fill with Easter water, and on the way out of church we take some of the blackened logs from the Easter fire and preserve them at the fireplace, where they work as sacramentals in times of danger from storms and lightning.

We try to keep up the customs we learned from the people in the Alps when they say the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary on Good Friday. Toward three o’clock of that day the father of the house goes to the corner where the vigil light burns before the crucifix and gravely blows it out; then he pours water on the fire in the fireplace. No flame is allowed around the house between the hour of Our Lord’s death and His Resurrection, in honor of Him Whom we call the Light of the World.

When we return, therefore, in the Easter Night with the blessed light in the lantern, the vigil light is lit from it and also the fire in the fireplace, and all the holy-water fonts are filled with Easter water. "

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I am an official owner of Birkenstocks. I can't decide if I've sold out or arrived. I think I've arrived.

In other news, I was asked today for the fifty bajillionth time why I'm a farm girl, since I'm so smart. Would anybody like to enlighten me about why cities hold a monopoly on intelligence?

The answer I gave: I'm smart enough to know that eating natural foods, getting exercise and living close to nature really is a better life. (Not to mention, the monks are awesome, and don't make us hold hands during the Our Father.)

But, apparently, I fail in the world's eyes if I can't do it all AND have a law degree. Oh well, at least I'm a happy failure. Oh, and have I mentioned lately how many kids I want to have? Different standards of success, that's what they're calling it these days.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Proud of myself

I figured out how to get the navigation bar back, even though this free template thingy tried to take it away.  I guess they wanted a cleaner look, but I wanted my easy buttons.  I am so so so HTML savvy.

By which I mean, if I were as HTML savvy as my dad, I could have done it in two minutes, instead of an hour.  Oh well.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Coach Cahill will be so proud when I tell him.  I played soccer yesterday for the first time in SIX YEARS.  And yes, I was terrible at it, but the point is, I PLAYED.  And apparently, I'm a tough girl.  News to me, but I'll take the compliment!

And oh, man, am I feeling it now.  Gemma and I tripped over each other and I twisted my ankle, Michael kicked my shin (on accident, I'm sure, since he's thoroughly a gentleman when I'm not trying to steal the ball from him), Tommy tripped me and knocked the wind out of me (eleven year olds are so hard not to trip over!) and then Joey stepped on my glasses (oops).

So until I get new glasses, I'm trying the contact thing again, because, you know, maybe moving away from the Number One Most Allergenic City In The US will make me stop being allergic to contacts, too.  I can always hope, at least.  Maybe it was some allergy in the air that was irritating my eyes, and the contacts made it worse.  Or maybe I can just learn to live with dry eyes.  I might even be totally frivolous and go buy a bunch of different kinds of eye drops, to see if one of them works.  I would be so in favor of having corrective lenses, peripheral vision, comfortable eyes, and eyelashes that are visible when I put mascara on them instead of hiding behind lenses, all at  the same time.

In other news, The Barn is soon to be The Studio, which means everything in the barn is now Somewhere Else.  Like, in stacks on the front porch, in the well house, by the wood pile, in the furniture shed, in the tool shed, and in the carport.  Hope we don't have to find any of it between now and when it's all done and renovated!

The kittens are 4 weeks old, and while I don't have pictures of them, I can announce their names with great joy.  (NB: sometimes you have to wait a reeeeeeally long time before you name animals, because when their eyes aren't open yet and all they look like is squishy, it's hard to tell what their personalities are like.)  They come in pairs, because two sets of pairs look almost exactly alike, and the remaining two are lumped together by virtue of being the oddballs: Essie (named after her mother, Esmerelda, because she looks just like her) and Gandalf (the Grey), Louis and Jemima (black and white and very sassy), and Thing One and Thing Two (Thing Two has a funny looking white spot on his nose) (you can't name kittens without some sort of Dr Seuss reference, hello!).  Maybe in the next few days I'll have pictures.