Category Archives: Religion
I think that someone who is following me is following me.
Okay, I don’t really think that – mostly – but I thought of that sentence, and it sounded kind of fun and confusingly ironic. So, there it is.
I mostly don’t think the follower is following me, but there is a tiny bit of me that wonders. And I usually like to display those tiny bits on this blog for the entertainment of others – and just in case something happens to me and I end up missing and you need some clues to find my body.
So, what happened was that the whole family made a trip to Half Price Books on Sunday. We brought a trainload of books to sell on THE EXACT SAME DAY THE REST OF SAN ANTONIO DECIDED TO SELL THEIR BOOKS. And, of course we were not first in line. And, of course, Half Price Books has this silly little policy that you need to remain in the store until they call you with a quote.
So, we spent twelve hours in the store.
Okay, it might have been just 63 minutes. But it was just long enough for us to find enough books so that the quote that we got was for exactly $1 less than the price of the books we were going to buy.
And long enough for a perfect stranger, dressed in a suit, to address me as I walked down an aisle to find my daughter, with, “Well, hello.”
Now I’ve been out of the game for awhile, but I seem to remember that when a person who is completely unknown to me finds a reason to say, “Well, hello,” putting an accent on the “lo” part, and there is no one else around but me, that they are trying to start a conversation with me. And the only reason to start a conversation with me is to: sell me something, preach to me about salvation, or pick me up.
I didn’t wait around to find out which of those three actions Mr. Suit had in mind. I mumbled something, and made a beeline for my daughter.
“Why would someone try to sell me something in the middle of Half Price Books?” I thought. And then I realized I had been standing in the Religion section – completely by accident, I swear – and I thought, “Oh, he is probably on a mission to save me from becoming a Jedi Knight.” And then I remembered I’d forgotten to wear my wedding ring.
“Oh my God. He was hitting on me!” I thought. Because, let’s face it – how would he know of my intentions to be a Jedi Knight? It’s not like I carry a light saber around with me.
So then I spent the rest of our interminable time trying to avoid Mr. Suit, who eyed me knowingly every time I rounded a corner.
Now here is where the follower following me part comes in.
I went home, and that night my professional blog had a new follower. And, I swear to Yoda, his little mini-profile picture looks like Mr. Suit.
Now, admittedly, I am a very paranoid, yet strangely unobservant person. And, it’s possible that I just think they look alike because they are both male and wearing suits. It’s unlikely they are the same person because Blog Follower dude lives in New York according to my extensive Google detective work.
But I’ve definitely learned my lesson.
From now on, I must always wear my wedding ring when I go to Half Price Books.
And start carrying my light saber.
So, now that the Pope has officially endorsed my Harry Potter Nativity scene, I feel like I can finally stop walking around with a rosary in my pocket in the hopes of warding off any lightning strikes.
Yes, I am perfectly aware that the above sentence pretty much guarantees that even a rosary can’t protect me now.
But the Pope did admit that things probably didn’t happen the way we’ve been lead to believe for the last thousand years. No angels singing, no animals gathered around the manger. No Little Drummer Boy pa-rum-pum-pum-pumming. So, I think it’s safe to conclude that we don’t know that Hagrid and Dumbledore weren’t standing around during the Holy Parturition (learned a new word today – look at me, using my online thesaurus in a fruitful manner!). It’s possible.
Speaking of this admittedly unlikely, but not completely impossible, rendition of the epitome of Blessed Events, I committed another Googling sin yesterday, and was surprised (as I always am) by the results.
I don’t know if you do this, too, but I like to Google some of my former blog topics that I think were completely, astoundingly unique – just so I can see my post title at the top of the Google results page. For some reason, that gives me a sense of satisfaction – knowing that pretty much no one else in the world ever thought about writing about this particular topic. Of course, that also usually means that no one is particularly interested in that topic, so it doesn’t really increase my blog stats to be number one on the Google search results. I tend to ignore that depressing fact, though.
So, I Googled “Harry Potter Nativity”, and was predictably gratified to discover that I was still at the top. But then, I noticed in the image results that the picture from my post was not #1. And then I noticed that there was an actual image of a “Harry Potter Nativity”! What the heck? Someone else had this idea?
Now, I’m depressed.
Unfortunately, despite my Super Duper Holmesian Google Detective skills, I am unable to actually figure out who had this idea. I’ve narrowed it down to someone on this site: http://www.craftster.org, but I apparently do not have Super Duper Holmesian Craftster.org Detective skills, because my searches either turn up nothing (Harry Potter Nativity – no results) or too much (Harry Potter – 67 pages of results).
So, I would like to tip my hat to the clever crafter who reduced my ego to ashes (don’t worry; like Fawkes the Phoenix, my ego will rise again), but I will, instead, be spending the rest of my evening Googling “spells to ward off vengeful lighting strikes” and “Cap’n Firepants and Wonderbutt” in doomed-to-fail attempts to avoid an argument with my insurance company over the exact meaning of “acts of God” and to revive my very damaged self-esteem.
In the Catholic Church, the calendar is full of Holy Days of Obligation – special occasion days on which the faithful are required to attend church.
I decided that the Firepants Family – or, at the very least, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants – needed a Whole Day of No Obligation. Our summer has been a daily deluge of mandatory tasks, and I wanted one day before I return to work next Monday that requires nothing of me.
Yesterday was my day. Our daughter, Dimples, was a willing participant – perfectly happy to lounge around all day reading two books I bought yesterday and playing on her iPad. I slept late, finished off one of my library books, made hotdogs for lunch, read Oprah magazine, and took a nap.
I did write this blog post. But I didn’t publish it. Lately, I’ve been feeling obligated to post every day. So, I had to liberate myself by not posting. Which was very hard – because I’ve posted every single day since last August 2nd. This means my day of No Obligation was not without some sacrifice – giving it a somewhat Catholic twist despite my attempts to the contrary.
I’m thinking of publishing a calendar with mandatory Whole Days of No Obligation embedded into each month. But, I guess that being Obligated to spend a day of Not Being Obligated kind of defeats the purpose.
It would be a really cool calendar, though, with pictures of our dog, Wonderbutt, showing complete disregard for any kind of obligations with absolutely no sign of guilt whatsoever.
I’m pretty sure this dog is not Catholic.
A bunch of us moms (what is a bunch of moms called, anyway – a gaggle, a murder, a herd?) were talking about summer camp one night while the girls were at swim practice. Because it’s never too early to plan for summer camp. One of the moms, who has a daughter a year older than Dimples, 10, mentioned that her daughter is going to sleep-away camp for the first time this summer. For 3 weeks.
I immediately flashed back to my first experience at sleep-away camp around that age.
My mother had convinced me to go with my best friend, who had been going for years. For one week, I would have the best time of my life, she assured me, swimming in the lake, canoeing, and watching movies.
I was pumped. I really couldn’t wait. I eagerly labelled every item I owned, even if it wasn’t going with me for the week, and told all of my friends what I great time I would have.
The ride to camp seemed even longer due to my excited anticipation. When we arrived at the camp, a facility run by Catholic nuns, I nearly threw myself out of the car.
My mother got me settled in to my cabin, signed all of the appropriate papers which, I’m sure, included one that promised me to a nunnery when I turned 18, and left.
As soon as my mother got in the car, a huge lump rose in my throat.
I turned to my best friend, so she could take my mind off of this sudden rush of homesickness. She was gone. After several years of attending camp, she had a circle of camp friends who were much more fun than I was. She really wasn’t my best friend, anyway; our moms were best friends, and we were always stuck together. Of course, I did not realize this until that moment.
I began to cry. And cry. I couldn’t stop crying. Even when the very nice cabin nun tried to comfort me. Even when we sat in the auditorium watching Ben Hur that night.
Even when the girls told me about the man with the hook that had been seen the night before trying to break in to one of the cabins.
I cried for three days straight. Finally the Head Mother Superior Nun Lady sat me down for a talk.
“Why do you keep crying?” she demanded.
“Because I want to go home!” I sobbed.
This flummoxed her. She could not understand why the engaging activities at her camp would not instantly cure me of wanting to go home.
“How about if I promise to call your parents and ask them to pick you up on Friday instead of Saturday?”
I perked up. This was the first sign anyone had shown of giving in to my hysterics.
“O.K.” I whined. I stopped crying.
For two days, I refrained from crying. Except in my cot at night.
On Friday, I woke up early, dressed, and packed my duffle bag. I sat on my cot after breakfast, waiting for my parents.
Who never came.
The next day, when they finally arrived, I threw myself at them. “Why didn’t you come yesterday?”
“What do you mean?”
Yes, you Smart Readers. You anticipated what I surely should have realized myself. According to my parents, no one had ever called them from the camp.
Now, I ask you – who would you believe, your own parents or Sister Mary Quite Contrary?
I never got to the bottom of this, but the long-term effect was that I now view both Catholics and parents with a critical eye.
And I will not be sending Dimples to summer camp.photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/emiliano-iko/5460822061/”>i k o</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
My brief mention of St. Francis of Assisi the other day reminded me of a funny story regarding saints, real estate, and MILlie.
A few years ago, we were trying to sell our house, and MILlie, an elderly friend of ours, mentioned to us that there was a saint who could help us with this. She claimed that, if we buried the saint upside down in our yard, we would quickly get an offer on our house.
Even after it was clarified that we should probably bury a STATUE of the saint, instead of the actual saint, I was still skeptical. I had grown up in the Catholic Church, and had never heard of this practice. I can be a little irreverent sometimes, but this sounded downright sacrilegious. Weren’t the saints treated badly enough when they were alive?
I consulted a few other upstanding Catholics, and some members of the real estate field, and they all confirmed MILlie’s claims.
A couple of weeks later, MILlie presented us with a statue of our very own to bury in the yard. As luck would have it, we did not even have the chance to bury the statue before we got a bid on the house.
A couple of weeks later, a good friend of mine was desperate to sell her house. Her husband had been transferred unexpectedly, and they had a short turnaround time before they needed to move. I gave her the statue, and told her the story.
The next weekend, MILlie visited. In her hand was a new statue, different saint.
“I gave you the wrong saint,” she said. “You’re supposed to bury St. Joseph.”
“What saint did you give us?” I asked.
“Well, what does he do?”
“I don’t know, but it’s St. Joseph you’re supposed to bury in the yard for an offer on your house.”
After we explained to MILlie that we already had a good offer on the house, she still convinced us to keep St. Joseph – “just in case.”
As soon as she left, I did a little research on the internet about Saint Anthony. Then I called my friend.
“Uh, remember that statue I gave you to bury in the front yard? Did you, uh, do that?”
“Yeah, why? I figured we could use all the help we can get.”
“Hmm. Well, uh, it’s the wrong saint. Apparently, you’re supposed to bury St. Joseph, not St. Anthony.”
“O.K. So, you gave me St. Anthony? What does he do?”
I mumbled my response.
“What? I don’t think I heard you right.”
“Well, it’s an honest mistake. People also bury him in the front yard. But you probably don’t need to do that. He’s the ‘matchmaking saint’.”
“O.K. Well. You bury him in the front yard if you’re trying to find a husband.”
Silence. Did I mention my friend wasn’t exactly thrilled about this sudden transfer her husband had gotten?
“I think I might just leave St. Anthony there for awhile,” she finally said.
I hung up, hoping that I wasn’t going to be held responsible for any unintended consequences of a case of mistaken saint identity.
I’m pretty sure that’s not at the top of my List of Transgressions, though.