Thoughts of Summertime

During my childhood, it used to bother me that my birthday came in winter. This may have had more to do with schoolwork than weather; nowadays, though, around here at least, the typical chill gray of the season could be considered a negative factor.

Today, however, I walked out my door to find bright summer sunshine, despite the frost on the ground. I drove up to the DOL to get my driver's license renewed, since it expired today (I procrastinate a lot, in case any of you didn't notice), and though the DOL wouldn't be my usual favorite choice of locations to kick off any special day, Joe at the counter treated me very kindly and I got a picture that won't disgrace me horribly for the next five years.

For some reason I'm in a happy mood. No, not for some reason, but for many reasons: sunshine and laughter and hope and love and peace, a riotously funny evening with a pack of great girlfriends last night, time set aside to spend with my family and the Saint this afternoon, simple prayers and blessed joys.

The day is young, and for some reason I find myself haunted--as often happens when the purest happy moments come over me--by the fear of its being marred or shattered as I know can happen in a matter of seconds. Everybody has their besetting sins, I guess; fear is mine. "Do not worry," Jesus said, "because who of you by worrying can add a single cubit to his life's span?"

So I'm going to stop. And I will go put my sheets in the wash and play my guitar or piano a bit and enjoy the fact that, after three weeks of having a cold, I can finally sing again. The return of my voice is no small gift to me; I've missed it dreadfully.

This prayer--perhaps my favorite of all the new little rites of Christian worship that I've learned in the past two months--speaks my thoughts beautifully today. I am overwhelmed by thankfulness.

"Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end,


The Wonders of Air Travel... and other stories

"Arthur, is that you?"

"Yes", came Mr. Weasley's weary voice. "But I would say that even if I were a Death Eater, dear. Ask the question!"

"...All right, all right... What is your dearest ambition?"

"To find out how airplanes stay up."

I personally don't fully understand how airplanes stay up, but nonetheless I enjoy flying. It amazes me that two hours in a plane can take me from this state that has been my home for over ten years and put me back in the town in which I grew up, which I've seen only once in all that time. Just two hours, and I stand beside she who has been the truest of friends for nineteen years, and the family to which I could always turn if something happened to my own--people whom I rarely see because of the seven hundred miles between us.

Normally one should choose summer, not winter, to visit Montana. Last time I flew in, a blizzard came with me; this time, I rode in on the wings of the coldest spell they've had probably since I left. At below-zero temperatures, the very oxygen seems to freeze and the skin inside of noses crinkles in disgust. But since it had snowed--again--in Bellingham, snow and cold in Montana didn't seem such a big deal. Snow in Bellingham stops life. Snow in Montana is just part of living.

Cold or not, though, the wedding for which I made the trip was beautiful, and the visit with my friends thoroughly precious to me. Even though Briana and I can pick up the phone after weeks or even a couple of months and talk like we'd never left off, getting to see her in person is better yet. Five days, blessing though they were, were not long enough.

They did end, though, and another two hours of airplane ride brought me back to Washington and the Saint, whom, I must confess, I missed rather constantly; and my parents, whom I still miss because this dadburn cold I've got has prevented me from making my regular trip to their house for two weeks running.

For now, I'm tired and going to bed. Before I do, though, here's what happened with the snapping turtle, for all of you who asked:

My family used to live next to a lake in Florida, which was great until the alligators set up housekeeping in the cattails. We used to fish the lake a lot, and one day Dad and my uncle caught a snapping turtle. Beth and I, aged about three and five at the time, were playing in the yard. Dad and my uncle chopped off the turtle's head and the turtle took off running right at Beth and I. We ran away from it, shrieking, and both of us will swear that it followed us in a circle. That may be purely coincidental, of course, but I dare anyone to hold their ground under similar circumstances :-)


Five Things

Chris Knight tagged me with this game. As required, here are five things you probably didn’t know about me:

1. I have been chased by a headless snapping turtle.

2. I have never conquered my irrational childhood fear of swimming pool drains. The same fear even niggles at me around hot tub jets and bathtub drains.

3. The author’s genes kicked in early for me. When I was about 5 or 6, I used to do my own narration in 3rd person, for instance: “She walked down the stairs and turned on the light.”

4. Instead of taking a teddy bear to bed with me as a little girl, I used to take my Breyer horses.

5. The first two songs I ever wrote were both written solely because someone else I knew had written a song, and I figured “What the heck—if they can do it, so can I.”

Now, who can I tag?… or rather, who would probably actually do this? I’ll tag
Briana and Tina.



My favorite part about bad head colds is the amount of reading I can accomplish when forced to lay flat on my back for two days straight. I have been known to read a full-length Jane Austen novel in a day and a half of sprawling on the couch with hot tea and Kleenex.

Excluding the couple of times when I felt well enough to crawl over to my computer and look at the Internet or my Libronix, I’ve spent most of the past two days in bed. For that purpose, I armed myself with far more books than I could read in a week, but managed to get through at least a little of each: Orthodoxy by Chesterton, The Confessions of St. Augustine, my Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, A New Song from the Mitford Years series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Jane Eyre.

That sort of list, folks, is much of the reasoning behind my always having pictures of Hermione Granger on my MSN Messenger and my Xanga.

Speaking of Harry Potter, and thinking of the newly-revealed title of book 7: I seem to have a vague memory of hearing the word “Hallows” used to mean ‘salutation’ or ‘greeting’ somewhere. Did I dream this, or has anyone else heard of such a thing? My dictionary gives me no such hint. I thought I’d read it in Jane Eyre, but couldn’t find it by reading the pages of that book where I thought it had been.

Anyway, that booklist has kept me busy. I have laughed, pondered, worked on my predictions for HP book 7, researched the concept of purgatory, wrestled with philosophy, and when the inevitable head-cold fog descended too heavily on my brain, dropped it all to just to read the stories I’ve read and enjoyed over and over again.

I devoted much of today to Chesterton, seeing as how I got distracted from him some weeks ago. I read about a third of the book, and if laughter is the best medicine, he contributed towards my recovery nicely. For instance:

“Mr. McCabe thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism. I think Mr. McCabe a slave because he is not allowed to believe in fairies.”

The humor, however, goes along with some very important points, of which this was a favorite of mine:

“…what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.”

That very error is how I once nearly lost my faith. He could not be more correct about the dangers of such misplaced humility. God grant me the courage and grace to remove every last remnant of that mistake from myself.

Books… how I love them. What would I do without them? No, don’t tell me: I don’t even want to know the answer to that question.


Transparent Angling Ferrets

In case you couldn't tell by the title, this post is for amusement only.

I bring this topic up because Beth texted those words to me today, in this sentence: "How 'bout them transparent angling ferrets?"

Perhaps some of you may remember my commenting here once about my frequent mis-hearing of song lyrics. In case you don't, let me repeat: I have always had a problem hearing lyrics and getting them correct. It's better if I just look them up.

The above line, for instance, comes from the Alanis Morissette song "Thank You" and what she really says is "transparent dangling carrots."

In reply to Beth's text message, for anyone who wants to know, I said "They go well with ghosts and gravy." "Ghosts and Gravy" for a long time was all I could make out of the song "Constant Craving," which I didn't like much anyway. Hopefully it doesn't run through my head all night now.

My most recent lyric mistake has occurred listening to Celine Dion sing Ave Maria. She performs that beautiful hymn fabulously, but she can't possibly be saying "The monkey caverns, they're so happy."

*sigh* ...there's nothing like a little creative listening :-)


Anno Domini 2007

[Sweet... I do know some Latin!]

Upon welcoming in a new year, I find myself looking back over the old... nothing so uncommon, I suppose. Even if the traditions of Jennifer didn't dictate such a thing, though, I would have to look back over 2006 and wonder over the things it held for me: my first full year living on my own, the start of this blog, new work, some intensive rebuilding of the foundations of my faith, a number of little lifetime milestone 'firsts', and new experiences of loss, finding, love, and hope.

I rang in this New Year in true American and Washingtonian style: in the presence of friends, blowing on a noisemaker, sipping champagne, watching the televised fireworks off the Space Needle, and praying. Next to me stood the Saint, with whom I have so recently begun learning of the old truths of love and faith in new ways.

A whole new year always brings me an odd mix of hope and fear, which has only grown over the last several years as I've learned how quickly life can change either for joy or for sorrow. Still:

"...in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them."
--Psalm 139

I hope many things for this year. I hope to see my beloved friend and her family in a couple of weeks in attendance at her sister's wedding. I hope to meet Chris and Lisa Knight, who have somehow managed to find their way into my circle of close friends despite our geographic separation. I hope to read the final chapter in the Harry Potter series. I hope to find my faith at the end of this year yet more built up and solid. I hope for God's continued work in the Saint and I and our relationship. I hope to keep blogging here, at least as faithfully as this year. And I hope for many things for those dear to me as well.

So... to all of you, and especially to those of you whom I know and love, Happy New Year of Our Lord 2007. I am not wishing you too little when I wish you as blessed as myself.