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I’ve just embarked on another new year in my life, another year older and hopefully wiser.  The birthdays seem to come more rapidly each year.  But I don’t mind.  I like growing and maturing.  That’s all it is–just me, the same as always, only better.  More myself, more comfortable in my own skin, more appreciative of life and being part of the world, more joyful and more grateful.  Especially at this time of year!  Autumn is finally in the air here in Texas, which means I’m feeling rather high-spirited.

Perhaps it’s the combination of maturing and becoming energized that have made me start thinking about dreams and pursuits that I have not yet seen through.  One of these is acting.  The only time I feel really good and really confident about expressing myself orally, out loud, is when I have a part to read and a character to be.  Becoming somebody else, putting somebody else’s words (or my own) out into the world to be heard is such a wonderful, liberating, transformative experience.  I want to give it a try, in a public way.  If for no other reason, I want to do it just so I won’t have to regret not doing it.

I guess that’s also why I enjoy Halloween so much, and costuming in general.  This year was really fun.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I love Doctor Who!  And so, I decided to be a female version of the Doctor!

         Doctor Heather 2

As you might know, my clothes were inspired by the 10th Doctor.  The snacks I brought to the office party, however, are the 11th Doctor’s favorite snack (as well as Dalek-threatening ploy):

Jammie Dodgers

I suspect that lots of people didn’t realize I was actually in costume that day–but that made it all the more satisfying when I encountered fellow Whovians who got it!  I ran into a few people who apparently thought that my costume was a librarian, and were rather amazed that, in fact, I am a librarian in real, everyday life.  LOL!

Real, everyday life is plugging ahead.  I can’t complain about a thing, but just try to make it even better.  Before we know it, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas will be here, and another calendar year will begin.  But for now, I just want to recite Shakespeare, wear cozy clothes, and drink warm things!  Happy Autumn, everybody!

It just occurred to me: today is my blog’s birthday!  Happy birthday, blog!  I can’t believe you’re already 3 years old!

Also, I realized a little while ago that I had mis-remembered the anniversary of my return to the Catholic Church.  Somehow, I had it in my head that the date was 11 May.  I began this blog in honor of my 3rd anniversary as a practicing Catholic.  But the real date was actually 12 May.  Doh!

Oh well, more celebration tomorrow!  :D

I am looking forward to a visit to St. Louis in June.  It looks like the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France is near my hotel.  Looks beautiful.

This will be my first visit to St. Louis, so… any recommendations for things to see/do?

Many thanks to one of my co-workers for sharing this with me!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Sister Mary Ann, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her rounds visiting home-bound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it, a Texaco Gasoline station was just a block away.

She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The attendant told her that the only gas can he owned had been loaned out, but she could wait until it was returned. Since Sister Mary Ann was on the way to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car.

She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, Sister Mary Ann carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gasoline, and carried the full bedpan back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two Baptists watched from across the street.  One of them turned to the other and said, “If it starts, I’m turning Catholic.”

It’s an advertisement for one of my favorite simple pleasures in life.  The snippet of Mozart (which was also featured in the film Master and Commander) is a nice touch.  Plus, it’s just funny!  :D

I’m not the only one who was excited about the snow on Wednesday.

Drew Johnson at University of Dallas sent me this, saying, “A student took this of the lawn between Jerome Hall and the Church of the Incarnation. It says SNOWING!”

Love it!  :D

I honestly haven’t been up to writing on religion.  So here is a fun excerpt from Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian! Captain Jack Aubrey has come to fetch Dr. Stephen Maturin for a fancy soirée at the commandant’s place.

“Must I put on silk stockings?”

“Certainly you must put on silk stockings. And do show a leg, my dear chap: we shall be late without you spread a little more canvas.”

“You are always in such hurry,” said Stephen peevishly, groping among his possessions. A Montpellier snake glided out with a dry rustling sound and traversed the room in a series of extraordinarily elegant curves, its head held up some eighteen inches above the ground.

“Oh, oh, oh,” cried Jack, leaping on to a chair. “A snake!”

“Will these do?” Asked Stephen. “They have a hole in them.”

“Is it poisonous?”

“Extremely so. I dare say it will attack you, directly. I have very little doubt of it. Was I to put the silk stockings over my worsted stockings, sure the hole would not show: but then, I should stifle with heat. Do not you find it uncommonly hot?”

“Oh, it must be two fathoms long. Tell me, is it really poisonous? On your oath now?”

“If you thrust your hand down its throat as far as its back teeth you may meet a little venom; but not otherwise. Malpolon monspessulanus is a very innocent serpent. I think of carrying a dozen aboard, for the rats–ah, if only I had more time, and if it were not for this foolish, illiberal persecution of reptiles… What a pitiful figure you do cut upon that chair, to be sure. Barney, Barney, buck or doe, Has kept me out of Channel Row,” he sang to the serpent; and, deaf as an adder though it was, it looked happily into his face while he carried it away.

Oh, Dr. Maturin! He is not a person I would want to make peevish! He does like to torment Capt. Aubrey at times. But he’s got a softer side. As we see, he loves animals… and they love him. (I just love the image of the snake looking happily into his face!) And he does have a true fondness for, and patience with Aubrey, even when Aubrey sticks his foot in his mouth, does something stupid, or gets into trouble… which happens pretty frequently.

As I’m learning from the 2nd book in the series, Post Captain, Maturin has a surprisingly soft side for ladies too! He makes efforts to spruce up his appearance and everything! Unfortunately, so far, the ladies often regard him much as Aubrey does: as a good friend and a trustworthy confidant. Poor Maturin!

Can you tell who my favorite character is?

I do love Aubrey too. He can be rather a clueless ass at times… but he knows, and regrets, that he can be a clueless ass. And well, it’s hard not to love Aubrey. He can be dead serious… and he can also crack you up. He’s a very open, honest person, nearly incapable of lying or being intentionally mean to anybody.

The characters are definitely one of the greatest things about this series.

It’s time for a literary/fun post.

First, as I’ve mentioned before, my friend Julie has been reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin on her podcast, Forgotten Classics.  She has completed the novel, and you can find every episode here.  I talked before about how human, how moving, and how engrossing the story is.  I am nearing the end of it, and I’ve only become more engrossed in it.  We’re now at Simon LeGree’s plantation, which is hell on earth.  We’re witnessing what happens to human beings when they are pushed to the farthest brinks of despair, steeped in evil and injustice, seemingly forsaken even by God.  In particular, we will see what happens to Uncle Tom, whose powerful faith has been relentless and seen him through so much loss and tragedy already.  What will happen to him now?  Will his soul too be crushed and his faith be in vain?  It is not looking good at all.

Anyway, I highly, highly, highly recommend that you listen in over at Forgotten Classics.  Or read the book.  It remains a very important and relevant book today.  For my part, it is inspiring me to make a greater stand against what I consider today’s greatest injustice–and a legal one, as we know: abortion.  I wish Harriet Beecher Stowe could tell us what she thinks about that.  I also wish I could write half as compellingly and as boldly as she did against the injustices of society.

For my fun reading (whenever I get a chance), I have at long last taken the many, many recommendations and exhortations I have received to begin Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, beginning with Master and Commander.  I resisted for a long time.  I thought, “Really, now, how entertaining can a nautical story be?”  And, as I found out from page 1, the answer is: “Pretty darn entertaining!”

I am almost finished with M&C, and I have to say that I still don’t get a lot of the nautical stuff–although seeing the excellent film version did help bring the setting to life.  Even so, the characters, the dialogue, and O’Brian’s masterful command of the English language have been more than enough to keep me turning those pages!  Central, of course, is the unlikely friendship between Capt. Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin.  These guys are about as different as can be, save their mutual love of listening to and playing music.  But as I’ve found out in my own life, such unlikely friendships can often be the strongest and truest.

Somebody on YouTube called “swisskun” made some cute little cartoons that provide a loose summary of the novel.  Emphasis on “loose.”  I think they do a pretty good job of capturing the “spirit” of the story, particularly the characters and the humor.  Here are the first two parts.  The first is a bit fuzzy, but you get the point.  The second uses some of the great music from the film.

Part 1: 

Part 2:

There is a third part, as well as some miscellaneous little “Jack and Stephen” vignettes, which you can find here.

A friend just sent this to me.  I needed the laugh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
I have been with a loose girl’.

The priest asks, ‘Is that you, little Joey Pagano?’

‘Yes, Father, it is.’

‘And who was the girl you were with?’

‘I can’t tell you, Father. I don’t want to ruin her reputation’.

“Well, Joey, I’m sure to find out her name sooner or later
so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?’

‘I cannot say.’

‘Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?’

‘I’ll never tell.’

‘Was it Nina Capelli?’

‘I’m sorry, but I cannot name her.’

‘Was it Cathy Piriano?’

‘My lips are sealed.’

‘Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?’

‘Please, Father, I cannot tell you..’

The priest sighs in frustration.
‘You’re very tight lipped, and I admire that.
But you’ve sinned and have to atone.
You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months.
Now you go and behave yourself.’

Joey walks back to his pew,
and his friend Franco slides over and whispers,
‘What’d you get?’

‘Four months vacation and five good leads.’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back to work now.

The blog Fallible Blogma is running a poll on the best Catholic speakers for 2009.  You can vote only once, but your vote can include up to 10 selections!

I was alerted to this poll by my friend Monica Ashour, who happens to be one of the nominees.  She is an outstanding speaker and teacher on Theology of the Body.  She’s the director of our local ToB apostolate, Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET), which I’ve mentioned a few times before.  I can’t recommend Monica or TOBET highly enough for ToB talks.

As you’ll see, however, that poll includes many wonderful speakers who deserve recognition.  So why don’t you go vote for your favorites!

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