The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Did Anyone Else Know This?

Because I certainly didn't.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced sex testing in 1968 at the Olympic games in Mexico City, after the masculine appearance of some competitors, many pumped up by anabolic steroids, had started to raise questions about the gender of athletes in female events.

(The rest of the somewhat bizarre article is here)

Doe, a Deer...

Someone recently asked, via email, for my unfortunate Car-Meets-Deer story, and while I was responding, it occurred to me that I may never have actually typed the whole thing up before. It also reminded me that it's really kind of a funny story, so I thought I'd share it. Apropos of nothing, but hey, it's my blog.

I was driving home from work on a fairly high-traffic highway, on the Thursday night after deer-hunting season started (which in Minnesota typically means that all the deer are running around in places they shouldn't under my car). Anyway, the silly animal with which I was about to become acquainted ran out into the road and was hit by another car, which threw it – still very much alive – in front of me. What followed can only be described as a sickening thump. The car scraped to a stop, still half in the road (incidentally, one of the morals of the story is that you should always carry road flares in your car…).

Well, the car was still running and sounded fine, but wouldn’t move forward or backwards. I called my dad (who could totally be like one of those guys on the Car Talk radio shows or something) and told him what happened. There wasn’t much he could do besides tell me he’d be there as soon as he could, which wasn’t reassuring, because I was about 45 minutes from home.

The driver of the other car had wandered over and asked if I was alright. I told him that I was okay, but for some reason, I couldn’t get the car to move any further off the road. He responded, “Umm…you do know that the deer is still under the car, right?” I had in fact failed to notice that, but it did explain a few things. He then tried unsuccessfully to move my car, and then we just stood there and waited for the police.

There is nothing more awkward than trying to make small talk with someone when your only connection to them is a dead animal lying under your car, bleeding all over the pavement. “So….how’s your car?” I asked, finally. “Totalled,” was the pained reply, “It’s new; doesn’t even have plates yet. It’s okay, though – it’s my anniversary, so at least I already have flowers in the car.” It was at this point that I remembered my rather unfortunate reaction to an adrenaline let-down: finding everything *really* funny. Whoops.

It was quite a while later that the police finally showed up. The cop walked slowly around my car, critically surveying the situation. “Huh,” he finally said. “Huh. Never seen that before.” Being unable to free car or deer, we stood there for a while longer. We were chatting about something when he suddenly stopped, walked up to the car, crouched down, picked up the deer’s leg, and let it drop limply. “Just checkin’,” he explained. “Sometimes you think they’re dead, and they come back to life.”

The challenge of the situation was too much for the fine men of the Blaine City PD to resist, and soon this had become a 4-police-car spectacle. After trying out many creative strategies, they finally admitted defeat. There was a tow truck on the way for the other car, so when it arrived, they just had it lift up my car first, so they could disentangle the deer. When the car was lifted up, the grisliness of the situation was finally revealed.

Once the deer was finally out of the way, I discovered that the worst damage done to my car was the fact that my battery had died while I was waiting for the police to show up.

So yes. That’s the story. Slightly disgusting, but it still makes me smile, a year and a half later. ;-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I have a feeling that lots of young Catholics can relate to the following, from a recent piece by John Zmirak:
Apart from the occasional Latin Mass full of elderly anti-Masonic activists, we typically sit through our dismal local services with teeth clenched and earlids shut, and spot each other (if at all) by secret handshakes and coded phrases. See that blonde over there, a friend might nudge you with his elbow. She took Communion on the tongue. I wonder if she’s single…. Such thoughts don’t always help you to pray.

("Riding the Short Bus to Love" - H/T Mom)
Personally, it reminded me of some excited text messages I got earlier this summer regarding the "Unidentified Chapel Veil" at 5:15 Mass. Perhaps this can lead to a new marketing campaign for the scapular/chapel veil industry*:

*No, I am not actually suggesting that one should wear a scapular, chapel veil, or ashes for the sole purpose of advertising one's status as a good Catholic. However, if one's motives are well-ordered anyway, I see nothing wrong with the possibility of an additional benefit....

Since everyone else seems to be talking about Humanae Vitae, here's a story about a family who just welcomed their 18th child:
Alexandru Ionce and his wife never planned to have 18 children in 23 years but when they welcomed little Abigail Ionce into the world, that's just what happened.

"We never planned how many children to have," he said. "We just let God guide our lives, you know, because we strongly believe life comes from God and that's the reason we did not stop the life.

"We let life come."
"We let life come." What a concept! May more people embrace this philosophy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blogging Breakfast

Having been to Tridentine Mass, Mary Liz and I are now sitting at breakfast, listening to Dave Brubeck's Notre Dame concert, reading sketchy-nun blogs, talking about weddings (including a beautiful Croatian tradition that was done at the wedding she attended yesterday; it's described here). In short, a nearly perfect Sunday morning.

(Her post, with photo)


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Without further ado...

Now that Mary Liz has seen it, I now present the chapel, construction (apparently) done, though still missing the doors and furniture.

(this hallway is new.  It's not really an interesting picture, but I'm including it so that I can mention what ML said when she saw it: "Oh, yay!  Now the garbage doesn't have to roll past Jesus anymore!")


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Well, so much for that business model...

Complete list of closing Starbucks locations. Me? I'm fine as long as they don't touch the one I actually go to. Family? You might want to look at page 10...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And then, through the silence, there came.....

I'm going to post this, even at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly. You have been warned.

I appreciate music in church as much as the next person (maybe more, if the next person happens to be...never mind ;-P). However, I'm also very protective of some good old post-communion silence. When that's not possible, I at least like being able to tune out the music and pray in my "interior silence". Having grown up in a parish that's quite attached not only to the communion song, but also the post-communion (and sometimes post-post-communion), I've gotten pretty good at ignoring the music.

Every so often, however, even my mad skillz are put to the test. Today, for instance. There was a group at 5:15 Mass from some conference, and well, they were of the age that both loves to sing in church and yet is exceptionally bad at it. So there I was, praying, when suddenly, breaking through my carefully placed, nearly impenetrable mental barriers, there came:
"And I will RAAAAAAAISE you up on the last day!"

And so, instead of prayer and reflection, I must admit that I found myself instead bracing inwardly each time I knew it was coming from the woman behind us. (And don't even get me started on that song or any that uses first-person pronouns for God. Ugh...)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You've Got to Be Kidding...

I have quite the pile of Ecology homework due in the next week: test tomorrow, paper Thursday, paper Friday, and 30-minute presentation on Monday. In the interest of *not* procrastinating, I've decided to lock myself in the library (no, not literally) until it's done. So far, the test is studied for and Thursday's paper is done. For Monday's presentation, each of the five presenting groups had to assign reading from the textbook, as well as an outside article on their topic. Friday's assignment is a synopsis of all of those readings. I didn't think it was going to take too long, until I was scanning the list of assignments and made a rather unpleasant discovery. All of the groups, knowing well that everyone - themselves included - was going to have to do all this reading by Friday, assigned a maximum of 10 pages from the textbook. All the groups, that is, except one. I don't know if they thought they'd get brownie points for overachieving, or if they just weren't paying attention to what they were doing, but one group has assigned pages 544-566, 574-597, and 607-623. Yes, 61 pages. I guess it's a good thing that the library is open until 2:00...

Chapel Update

I have purposely refrained from putting up the latest chapel photos, solely because I want Mary Liz to be surprised when she comes out this weekend*. Well, the construction is done, and now all that's left is for the furniture to come in. It's actually a really remarkable transformation; the chapel is unrecognizable from the way it was. So, photos to come this weekend.

*As opposed to the surprise that she'll feel when she sees North Quad :-( .


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Knittery

My latest finished knitting project:

All in all, it was super-easy, and just needs clothes (I'm waiting for a crochet hook so I can improv a dress). I made it to be a baby gift, but right now it's proving to be really good for snuggling with and tempting me to hang onto it...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

If you can't beat 'em...

The conference checking in today is kind of a pain. And by "kind of", I mean every single person who comes in has some issue. To cope, we have developed the following strategies:

1) Brownies
2) IM conversations between the four of us. Yes, we're all sitting within 8 feet of each other. But somehow, it's very therapeutic to talk about the annoying people without them knowing it. Now we just have to keep straight faces...

A quick but essential note on the song I had up on iTunes in the picture in the previous post: if you're not familiar with Ella Fitzgerald's live Berlin performance of "Mack the Knife", you're missing out on one of the greatest moments in music. Ever. Read more about it here or here.

The view from my Sunday morning

(the post-Mass morning, that is, of course)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yay - wood flooring! Everything that's not already floored will have carpeting (of the nice, non-shag variety).

Wood paneling for the walls and pillars.


Friday, July 11, 2008

If this doesn't make you smile should probably get checked out for other signs of life.

(H/T Dawn Eden)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chapel Update

Well, the ceiling is back in, which IMHO makes the room seem a lot more finished. No vaulted ceiling for us, but ah well...


Monday, July 07, 2008

Related to the recent discussion about "meditative needlework" over at the Pious Sodality, I just have to show off a gift I received over the weekend: a quilt from Mom (a belated high school graduation gift). The pictures don't really do it justice; I didn't have anyone to hold it for me, and the fluorescent lighting in my room makes the colors not quite accurate.

(For some reason, this photo keeps uploading 90 degrees sideways. Just tilt your head.)

The text around the edge is a favorite prayer of mine: "Subjects for Daily Meditation"

Remember, Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life:
God to glorify,
Jesus to imitate,
The Blessed Virgin and the Saints to venerate,
The Angels to invoke,
A soul to save,
A body to mortify,
Sins to expiate,
Virtues to acquire,
Hell to avoid,
Heaven to gain,
Eternity to prepare for,
Time to profit by,
Neighbors to edify,
The world to despise,
Devils to combat,
Passions to subdue,
Death perhaps to suffer,
And Judgment to undergo.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The blind leading the blind

Overheard between two teenaged soccer-campers near the Basilica:

"...And then you tell him all the stuff you did bad and he tells you some special prayer to say to make God forgive you."

"(girlish horrified squeal) And you have to
look at him while you tell him everything?"

"(as if recounting a campfire horror story) Yes, you
have to, or it doesn't count."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Putting Women in Their Place

Recently, I've been reading Life Is Worth Living, a collection of talks from Fulton Sheen's television show. A fair number of the chapters are devoted to the take-down of communism, but most are surprisingly relevant and/or shockingly prophetic. The whole book is fantastic, and I could devote posts upon posts to it (really, it's just one great quote after another), but a few sections really stuck out at me. Among them is a chapter entitled "Women Who Do Not Fail", in which Abp. Sheen describes the three types of women who "keep civilization at a high level" (for he has already explained that "the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.").

He states what is often said, that all women are called to motherhood, be it physical or spiritual. However, before he even addresses the more commonly thought-of vocations of women, he looks at one that is, in my experience, often overlooked: How exactly do women in the professional world fulfill their call to motherhood? Are not such women doomed to lives of hardness and cutthroat competition? Not so, says Sheen:
"A woman in professional life is happy when she has an occasion to be feminine....The woman who does not fail in the professional life is the woman, therefore, who manifests this feminine quality of 'equity'."
It follows, then, that the women who do become embittered by professional life are the ones who, for whatever reason, are not given or do not take the opportunity to express their feminine call to motherhood. In my experience, these opportunities often come in small ways - remembering coworkers' birthdays, sewing on someone's wayward button, bringing in a bouquet of flowers to liven up the office. It's these small things, these chances to give, and to "mother" someone, that can keep a woman from completely losing herself in her job.

The next type of women is the physical mothers, whose job it is not only to bear children, but also to teach obedience, for "mothers, more than politicians, are the preservers are freedom and democracy." In addition, the aforementioned feminine quality of equity, or mercy, complements the father's tendency toward justice. In this way, I suppose, the combined balance of justice and mercy between parents is an image to children of the justice and mercy of God, albeit in a much smaller and more imperfect way.

Finally, he addresses those who live out their vocation through spiritual motherhood. And their example is a lesson and an inspiration to the rest of society:
"When spoiled lovers seek to make a false infinite out of a succession of finite loves, it is helpful to civilization to know there are some whose first love is their last love, and their last love is the love of God."
Besides their example to the surrounding world, these women offer their lives and all their love for the sake of something greater, for the preservation of an ideal. Comparing them to soldiers who sacrifice everything for the sake of the patriotism and the love of their country, Sheen writes:
"Should there not be some women who will love God so deeply and so profoundly that they will sacrifice all lesser loves in order to preserve, for a week and sinful and possibly sex-minded world, the real understanding of love? They keep love pure."
Despite the fact that they are often scoffed at, questioned, or mocked, these women have found something so beautiful that they are willing to forsake the visible, tangible love of marriage. And yet, they're so very happy with it (side note: there are several Nashville Dominicans here on a seemingly longer-term basis - by which I mean a few weeks so far - and those women are always. smiling. Like, even in situations that are really too mundane to cause happiness in most people, they're smiling. Clearly they've found something good.).

The chapter concludes with a reflection on the women who followed Jesus through His ministry and Passion: Mary Magdalene, who inspired people in the sociopolitical sphere; Mary, the mother of James, who taught her son such that he was willing to follow the Lord; and finally, the Blessed Virgin, "who left the lights and glamour of the world for the shade and shadows of the Cross, where saints are made." It is these women, examples for all women, who as Sheen points out, were closest to the Cross, and first to the tomb.

Zero sum?

Today at 5:15 Mass:

My favorite hymn, played by my least favorite organist. (what, you thought that was going to be a link too? I'm not that brutal)
Still trying to figure out what the net gain/loss was. Was it worth it, just to hear a good hymn? On the other hand, if she picked the hymn, then I guess she just went up in my estimation. Hmm...I'll have to ponder this.

Free Guestmap from Free Guestmap from