Friday, July 10, 2015

Shifting Priorities

On my way to my parish, I pass an old gas station: the pumps are covered with yellow arrows.  Those arrows remind me every time I go to Mass of my time on the Camino, where similar yellow arrows pointed me in the direction of Santiago.

See the yellow arrows on the pump?
And yet, as I get closer to the point when I need to seriously begin the process of planning and training in earnest for going on the Camino in 2016, I'm realizing that my priorities have shifted.  I still want to walk the Camino from beginning to end, and I hope that God allows me to do just that at some point.  However, even if my priorities had not pulled me in other directions, I don't think that my body would currently let me do so.  You see, I'm still having foot pain, and I'm still unable to even run 1 mile with no weight, let alone walk 9-12 miles in a day with 15 lbs. on my back.  My podiatrist doesn't currently think that I need surgery (Thank GOD!!!), but he hasn't ruled it out completely either.  The other option would be to bicycle the Camino, but that would mean losing out on much of the social aspect of the Camino, and I really don't want to do that.  It also means figuring out how to ship a bicycle to Spain, and that just seems really complicated.

So, as much as I want to do something epic to mark my passage into my Forties, walking the Camino, or any kind of hike next summer is out.  I'm not sure what my gift to myself will be, but I have a few ideas percolating.

Many of my own personal priorities have been in flux of late, anyway. To try to choose something that will fit those priorities a year from now wouldn't work at the moment, for I'm not sure what those priorities will be.

As the weeks go on, I will try to talk a little bit about what I've been thinking about, but here are a few questions that have been simmering in the back of my head as a teaser:

  1. What does it mean to be a single lay person in the Church today?  What role do we play in the life of the Church?
  2. What are the things in my life that are obstacles to saying yes to God? How can I work on removing them?
  3. I've been given this huge blessing of my own house. How can I use that gift as a blessing to others?
  4. One of the things I loved about my time with the Sisters in Chicago was the rhythm of prayer that their life revolved around. How can I both incorporate that into my own life, yet balance it with the rest of my obligations?
  5. What does it mean to be "in the world, not of it"?  
I don't have the answers to the above, and I may never have those answers, but they are definitely worth pondering, and prayerfully exploring.  It will be interesting to see where these questions take me.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real (vol. 3)


This Past 4th of July, I was able to grill in my backyard for the first time.  While there was a bit of a mishap putting the grill together (see funny), things went really well, and overall, I would deem the experience a success....That in spite of the dog eating 3 of the finished hamburgers off of the kitchen counter.
I originally assumed that 2 lbs of hamburger would give leftovers for a few days. The dog had other plans.

The charcoal finally lit, after borrowing lighter fluid from our neighbors.  Now I know for next time.

The first half of the burgers. Ginger ate all but the smallest of these.  That is what I get for leaving them unattended.

Grilling isn't complete without a few grilled veggies.  I want to try other veggies this way (covered in salt and olive oil), but am unsure of which would taste good.


We have a new foster-dog.  Our local animal shelter is seeing a huge boom in animals, so we have taken one in, hoping that our socialization of her will make her more adoptable.  Of course, we hit the jackpot, because she was already house-trained.  My father thinks that we will have a tough time giving her back once she is adopted.  He may be right.  My niece is already saying things like, "we should adopt her ourselves."  

My ginger (at the back of the picture) seems to like her, and my niece's dog, Daisy, loves to play with miss Athena.  


So, putting together a grill while sitting outside on a wooden deck has a few hazards involved...such as losing a screw through gaps in the boards.

You can't see it well in this picture, but the screw I dropped is between these two boards
 Thankfully, my niece was able to give me the idea of putting a magnet on something to try and fish out the screw.  Otherwise, my grill would have had to been put together with a missing screw.  I don't have any loose screws laying around. (OK, maybe some of the mental kind, but not the physical kind.).
Why yes, that IS a refrigerator magnet attached to a zip tie with packing tape--we use what we have. I was able to fish out the screw, and it only took me 2 or 3 tries!
 While the foster doggie is still being put in the crate at night, we are leaving her out for most of the rest of the time. Yesterday, I let her stay out with the other critters while I did errands.  I'm not sure I trust her to be out with the rest of the critters for a long period of time without supervision, but an hour or two seems to be ok.
This is what I saw through our front window as I was coming in from my errands. I know it looks like Athena is standing on Daisy's head, but she is actually standing on a cat perch we have near the window.  Neither cat has been using it since Athena got here, because Athena is just a little too curious about them.
 Of course, this is something that I never thought that I would see in my neighborhood, but these guys have been out and about pretty much every day since we moved in.
I live near the center of town, and yes, my neighbors have free-range chickens hanging about.  So far, I've seen 4 of them.  I've been told that they keep bugs way down. That makes it tempting to go out and buy some, but my digdogs would chase the poor things to death.


One of the things we do each summer is keep a wading pool in the yard for the digdogs.  This is absolutely essential in warmer climates, since it helps them to keep themselves cool.  However, living in a desert is a little bit different than living in Central TX.  We've been having visitors to our pool, which never happened back in El Paso.
I suspect that the curiousity/hunting instinct of both Daisy and Athena have run off this particular neighbor--I haven't seen the frog since they tried to capture it together a few nights ago.
 With two dogs that like to chase other animals (Ginger doesn't chase anything but toys--I think she believes that chasing a living being is too much work, since they don't stay in one place like toys do), the cats have begun to look for hiding places, especially places that the dogs can't reach them.  Since we are still waiting for the darker paint to set, all of our cabinet doors are off in the bathroom. Mysti has decided that our towels are the perfect place to sleep because of it, although the top of the refrigerator is not out of question.
High, comfy, and hidden.  What more could a cat ask for???
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Friday, July 3, 2015

Tattoos, Commitment, and Saying Yes

Ever since the first time I separated from my ex, I have flirted with the idea of getting a tattoo. Back then, I always said that said tattoo would be a phoenix rising from the ashes:

Something like this, actually, but I always wanted it to be full color.
This symbol is very powerful for me, because it speaks to the process I feel that I've gone through as I've processed and healed from my divorce.  And yet, something has always held me back from actually doing it.

It has to do with the permanency of a tattoo...I'm not sure that I'm willing to commit to a mark on my skin that is going to be there for the rest of my life.  Which, really, is kind of funny, because I once committed to wearing a ring on my finger in a sign of commitment "til death do us part." And, while I was married, I pretty much didn't take it off unless my fingers were swelling. Even almost 3 years later, I can still feel a bit of the dent left by wearing a ring for almost 11 years.

However, I've begun thinking about getting a tattoo again, and much of it has to do with the time I spent with the Sisters in Chicago (This article talks about the order I was volunteering with, and this is their website).  You see, the sisters say the Angelus 3x/day, and part of it has been echoing in my heart and my mind:

Be it done 
to me according 
to Your Word.
This echo of Mary's Yes to God, it seems to me, is the heart of following Christ, and if I ever DO decide to get a tattoo, it will be of those nine momentous words.  In some ways, it would be a way of formalizing the yes I tell Him daily.   I still like the image of the Phoenix, but I'm no longer in the process of rising from the ashes.  It no longer fits, somehow.

I'm still undecided about getting any kind of tattoo, and some of it is cost.  I have a hard time justifying $100 for 9 words.  And, I keep coming back to whether I really NEED to formalize the yes I say to God.  The nice thing is that I don't have to make this decision today, or even tomorrow.  Instead, like one of the postulants told me while I was there, all I need to do is know what God wants of me right now, not 2, 3, 5, or 10 years from now.  And, that is where my daily yes comes from.  The rest will work itself out as I do what is before me in the here and now.  May we all echo Mary and say, "behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to your word."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real (vol. 2)


This is a picture of my bathroom after the 2nd coat of paint.  I'm really happy with the way it is looking, but am a little worried that the paint is still tacky a week after the second coat.  I actually tried to remove to tape around the edges today, and took some of the paint with it.  I've never lived in a very humid part of the world before, so I'm not even sure how to go about accelerating the process of having the paint dry.  
This last week has made the term "watching paint dry" MUCH more real to me.

And this is a picture of all of my books and CDs.  One of the blessings about moving is that it gives you license to pare down.  In anticipation, my sister turned me on to the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Maria Kondo, and it has helped me immensely in the process of finding what is essential for me.  While she is anthropomorphizes everthing, her question, "does this item spark joy?" makes a lot of sense to me, and has made choosing what to keep and what to get rid of much much easier.


This is what pictures of my animals generally look like when I try to take them with the flash on.  Rather than red eye, they look like they are part robot, or something that would come out of a science fiction movie.  It makes me smile every time, and Destructodog becomes Robodog. 
Just chillin' on the couch. No room for you, mom.
 And this is what happens when the digdogs chase the bed goes all askew.  When I moved the mattress back, my kitty was sitting underneath the overhang of the mattress, thankful for a new place to hide. I don't currently have a bed frame, but should probably get one just so that she has a safe place to get away from the digdogs. That would require needing to dust under there, though.
I'm still working on unpacking my bedroom. It is the only room, other than the Bathroom that isn't set up yet.


How is this even a thing, and I never new about it?  What is this, you ask?  It is catnip infused bubbles to play with your cat with.  At $0.97, I couldn't resist buying a bottle.  My cat pretty much ignored the bubbles, but sniffed, mildly curious, at the ground where the bubbles burst.  My niece's cat laid down on the floor where they burst and writhed in the hopes of soaking up every drop.  She is afraid of the bubbles themselves, though, as one popped on her nose. A half hour of amusement that was well worth the 97 cents.  


One of the things that happened last week is that my priest came over to bless my new house.  When he got there, he says, "you must really like yellow."  Yellow is a happy color for me, but not really what I would call a favorite color--that would be green or purple.  However, as you can see from the photo, I currently have both a yellow car and a yellow house.  I didn't do it on purpose, but there you have it.
I plan to make a house tour video at some point, but need to finish moving in first.

In the process of having my house blessed, Father gave me another Crucifix.  I had a hard time figuring out where to hang it, since I already have a very big one in my living room, and my confirmation crucifix in my bedroom.  It ended up in my kitchen.  Not a bad choice, since the corpus matches the wall color nicely.

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