Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I wonder what my fellow attendees of the Vatican Bloggers' Meeting would say if they knew how much I love Halloween.

Part of it is climate. I have lived all of my life in northern places (I'm counting Virginia as northern. Sorry, CSA.). In the fall everything dies. Sure, the leaves go out with a blaze of glory- I love fall leaves, to a point beyond reason- but face it' it's all going downhill. Those gorgeous reds and golds? They're a death rattle.

So thousands of years ago man looked around and said to himself, "Everything is dying. This can't be good." It stands to reason his thoughts would turn a little gloomy.

Flash forward to the days of Christianity. Christians celebrate the Feast of All Saints on November 1. How long do you figure it was before somebody asked himself, "It's one thing to throw a party for the saints, but mightn't there be, um, gate-crashers? And wouldn't it be a good idea to, you know, ward them off if we can?"

Bingo. All Hallows' Eve, the ultimate velvet-rope=and-bouncers holiday. Carve your scary pumpkin and relax, there's no way wondering spirits are getting past that.

Worried cavemen, nervous Christians, what's not to love? Throw in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and a couple of tell-tale organs and voila, you've got yourself a gathering around the campfire. Which is a party in my book.

I know many of my fellow Christians have reservations about Halloween. Many of them I think are well founded. I hate slasher movies for the most part. I'm not real keen on the blood and gore that Hollywood thinks is an autumn theme. I object to that stuff, too.

But I don't object to the ghostly stuff. I like graveyards. I like ghost stories. I don't think there's anything unchristian about ghost stories, either. There are ghosts in the Bible. What about Saul summoning up the Witch of Endor? Huh? And if the apostles had never heard anything about ghosts, why did the post-resurrection Jesus have to prove to them He wasn't one, by asking for something to eat? Huh? Huh? What about that, huh?

It's the end of the growing season. Everything is dying. In a few weeks we'll be buried in the dead cold snow.

Let's party while we can. Boo, baby!

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Thermos Challenge

As I type this my daughter is taking part in the annual Rosary Procession over in St Paul. In honor of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (that's today) all the schoolkids in the archdiocese walk about a mile to the Cathedral, praying the rosary as they go. We got an email yesterday that said this meant lunch at school would be a little late, so make sure your kid eats a decent breakfast (Sophia is not a big breakfast girl) and brings a water bottle for the hike. Oh, and after walking a mile inteh brisk wind they'll probably e pretty hungry, so pack a good lunch. Since it's significantly cooler today than it's been all week, I thought today would be a good day for a thermos lunch. So this morning I heated up leftovers from last night and filled the lunch-sized thermos I bought at Costco last week. Now the only thing that could go wrong with this thermos is Sophia might not be able to get it open. This happened the last time I sent her to school with a (much cheaper) thermos. Apparently every adult in the school- custodians, teachers, hapless visitors-- tried to pry it open and failed. We never did get the thing open again. I finally threw it in the trash, with the "hot lunch" presumably still hot inside it. I admit I have a thing about thermoses. The idea that you can tote your own hot food with you when you go out and not have to buy McDonalds has great appeal. Feeds the body, and the ego- in the "look how healthy I'm being!" sense. But I must also conclude the thermoses in my life have not been very reliable. The glass liners broke, the tops got lost, they leaked. Maybe I just have bad thermos karma, I don't know. But today I'm giving it another shot. Optimism is my middle name. Our Lady of the Rosary, please help my kid pry the top off the damn thing at lunchtime.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs, RIP

If it weren't for Steve Jobs, I might have had to learn some kind of computer language. DOS or whatever. But I was spared that agony because i have been, from the first, a Mac girl. I can still remember our first Mac. An ugly little box of a thing, with a tiny screen and a dangling mouse. And of course our dot matrix printer. But with each new generation of MAcs- at least the ones that sprung up when we had any income- we advanced with Apple. I had one of Apple's firs laptops- they were grey bak then, with little "feet" you could roll down to make the screen stand at a more visible angle. Later I got one of those clamshell jobs- mine was orange. Stylish. Really stood out in a crowd. The beauty of the Mac was that you could be a technophobe like me and still do just about anything on a computer. I think Yo Yo Ma said it best. Rest in Peace, Steve.

Too Weird for Words

I refer, of course, to our unseasonalby warm weather here in the MiniApple. Yesterday it was 86 degrees. 86! In October! In Minnesota! While everyone is happy to be out jogging and biking ad whatnot, I notice many are also keeping a sharp lookout for four horsemen. Others are sending apologetic notes to Al Gore. (We're sorry we didn't believe you, Al!) Still others are doing a brisk trade in used lawn furniture. Our little family loves to eat outdoors. When we were looking for a place to live we turned down one lovely- and nicely priced, with everything already renovated- house because it was too near the noise of the highway. How could we linger over dinner with the sounds of 394 roaring in our ears? So we bought the house we're in now. No highway noise. But lots of dead oak leaves falling into your food and squirrels hurling acorns at your head. Hey, at least it's natural. As for me I am taking advantage of the lovely weather by running around in circles. Literally. Around the lake near my house. Which is usually half-frozen by now, but as of today is still in liquid form. Weird.