Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Internet Is Sending Me Off the Deep End

There is a hurricane bearing down on us.  Even though it isn't going to hit us directly, we're likely to get a lot of rain and wind, and they're telling us that we'll probably lose power.  All over Twitter and Facebook people are posting updates on how they're preparing for the storm.  "We've filled our bathtubs with water!" (We didn't fill our tubs with water.)  "I'm cooking everything in my refrigerator!" (I'm not cooking everything in my refrigerator.)  "I've made the mad dash to Wal Mart for canned goods, toilet paper, bottled water, and ice!" (I did go to the store on Thursday, but that was before I even knew about Sandy.)  I'm starting to think that maybe we're going to be the ones who are going to be screwed because all we've done is bring in most of our deck furniture and scrambled around the house in a nearly futile attempt to locate flashlights.  We're up to our ears in batteries, thank goodness.  We don't have a well, so we should have clean running water available.  We have a gas water heater; after Hurricane Isabel hit us we lost power for a week and we were grateful that at least we could take hot showers.  We have a gas stove and matches, so we should be able to cook pasta or canned soup (that is, if we have any in the house).  Larry has a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so I took the day off; I should be able to run to the store in the morning if I feel an urgent need to stock up on whatever is left on the shelves. 

And then there's all the political vitriol.  I think my blood pressure goes up every time I read some new development in the Benghazi fiasco.  Most of you know which candidate I support (I used to have a Romney/Ryan sign in my front yard, until last week when someone went up and down our street and yanked up all the Romney yard signs), and I've said as much on my Facebook page.  There are a lot of things I've been tempted to say but I've mostly kept my mouth shut because I really don't feel like getting into any arguments with people who I love and respect but don't necessarily share the same political views with.  If I see one more advertisement or article about how those mean Republicans want to deny birth control to poor women I think I'm going to scream.   I'm sick of the rhetoric, but at the same time I can't seem to get enough of it.  It's like a bad drug.  That's why I've (finally) made up my mind to take an Internet fast for the next few days.  No Facebook, no Twitter, no blogs.  I might even stay away until after the election.  I haven't decided yet.  (And I have a feeling that this one will be like 2000, when we didn't know the results for more than a month.  I wouldn't be surprised if certain politicians are going to act like sore losers and call for recounts in several states.)

I have laundry to catch up on, books stacked on my shelves that I have yet to read, and for some strange reason Sandy is giving me a sudden compulsion to clean and organize.  (I think our mad scramble through the house in search of flashlights is what did it.)   It will be hard to resist the temptation to post photos of what damage Sandy might do to our trees to my Facebook page, or tell my friends about how we're hunkered down by the fire roasting marshmallows (something to add to tomorrow's grocery list).  Hopefully there won't be any news to report anyway.

I've been anxious to blog again.   Soon I hope to return and tell you all about the wonderful weekend we spent with Joe's brother and his family, about my sister-in-law's baby shower and how joyful we are about welcoming a brand-new life into our family, about Larry receiving his black belt in taekwondo and how proud we are of him, and the everyday goings-on in our lives.  Meanwhile stay safe, and don't forget to vote.  (Especially if, like me, you can't wait to throw the bums out!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Get Thee To the Church: St. Thomas Aquinas, Charlottesville, Virginia

It was a spur-of-the moment decision to attend Mass here that Saturday evening.

We were in town that day for the Penn State vs. University of Virginia football game (our annual trek to a Penn State game--this year we didn't need to go far).  On our way to the stadium we saw this sign:

Sitting in a chair on the sidewalk were two Dominican friars--one of whom had a sign next to him identifying himself as "Friar 'Hoo"--smiling and waving at the fans going by.  "Hmmm,"  we said to each other; "Maybe we can go to Mass here after the game."  I was already committed to attend Sunday Mass at our home parish the next day though, to sign the Profession of Faith that the teachers and catechists in the Arlington diocese were asked to do this year.  (You may remember hearing about a few catechists at St. Ann's Parish who made such a stink a few months back about being asked to--gasp--believe and teach and live the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Oh, horrors.)  We figured we would just wait and go on Sunday.

After the game (which the Nittany Lions lost to the Virginia Cavaliers by ONE POINT, darn it), as we were walking back to the car, ominous dark clouds rolled in.  The wind picked up, and it began spitting rain.  Just as we were walking past St. Thomas Church, it began to rain harder.  We looked at each other and said, "Hey!  Let's go to church!"  We ran inside looking like a bunch of drowned rats, but it was dry inside, and beautiful, and the Mass was lovely.  (Then again, Mass is always lovely.  Jesus is there.)

As I was walking around after Mass snapping photos, a young friar told me there was a lovely chapel across the hall, and I should be sure to check that out.  That was not to be, however, because Joe and the boys balked at having to wait even longer for me.  There were sandwiches back at the car after all, waiting to be eaten.

(I think this was the chapel the young friar was referring to--from the outside.)

Before we left home that morning, Joe warned the boys that since this was the first Penn State game we've been to since the abuse scandal broke, we might see some protesters and we might have some unkind things said to us because we were wearing our Penn State clothing.  I am happy to report that the atmosphere during the tailgating and at the game was happy and festive, and the Penn State fans--and there were a lot of us--were made to feel welcome.  We even saw people from both sides tailgating together.  At Mass, Father (Friar 'Hoo) asked for a couple of volunteers to bring up the gifts.  One was wearing a Penn State jersey, and the other had on a UVA t-shirt.  Father remarked at how fitting that was.  And by the time we left the church, the rain had stopped.   It was a great way to wrap up a fantastic Saturday, don't you think?

And I did go to church the next day, and signed the Profession of Faith.  I hope Father R. didn't notice me sneaking out early...

Happy Sunday everyone, and get the to church!  (And no leaving early.)
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