Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Ahhh...the holidays are here! Today I officially started the portion of my Christmas shopping that doesn't include a craft store. I began my crafting bonanza last week, and am always amazed at how much I think I can accomplish versus how much is humanly possible.

Because the crafts are gifts, I can't openly discuss them, but suffice to say there will be photo documentation provided at a later date (read; December 26th). If I can pull this season off, I'll have a whole new respect for myself!

Reasons why I think this year will be different:

1. I've already started my crafting projects.
2. I've made a shopping list, and kept the number of people to whom we're giving actual gifts at a reasonable number.
3. I don't have an outside job, so I can let Henry run wild in our house while I "tie up loose ends" on projects through the first two weeks of December.
4. Finally, but maybe most significantly, I have delusions of gradeur.

When explaining my plans for gifts to friends, they think that I'm awfully crafty...however, my personality, as I've said before, is that I do things "good enough". Any real scrapbooker would cringe at my pages; they are not perfectly measured, and they aren't really even that good, but they're there!

I like creating a project and looking at it thinking, "Wow, I'm pretty awesome!" I mean, who wouldn't like to stare at a chart with a bunch of numbers and shaded images for hours and then voila, you've got an embroidered pillow case!? In case you didn't catch the sarcasm, I was ready to cry after stitching the first stem of the first flower...and there are TWO pillowcases to do? Sweet...I'm glad that I'm always so realistic about my abilities and time frames.

It used to drive my best friend crazy when I'd tell her I could be somewhere in 10 minutes when clearly anyone who had driven there in the last 30 years knows that it can't be done in less than 20 (at best). It's something that I've really worked on, but I have learned that it's due mostly to my desire to be all things to all people, all at the same time. "Yes, I can definitely do that for you. Oh, no, it won't matter at all that I'm currently holding a phone conversation with someone (not hands-free), juggling three bowling pins, diapering a child and preparing a meal...I can do it all!"

Back to shopping; my friends and I went to the outlet malls near our house, and it was so much fun! The air was crisp, and the sales were hot. I love shopping for other people, while at the same time satisfying my love for checking off items from a list. We went sans children, which was fabulous, and everytime I saw the gynormous stroller trying to squeeze through the congested stores, I thought, thank God Big J is home with H otherwise, this would not be fun...wait, otherwise, I would not be here!

There's nothing like having a day out, without kids, so you can talk about all the fun/crude topics that you can't in front of kids without the muted/mouthed words that make a conversation seem like it's being told over a bad phone connection.

Anywhoooo...that's life in the fast lane for ya.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate this year!) Also, in case you're wondering...that's the "tree" from our first Christmas as a married couple...pretty swanky, eh? They were supposed to flank a sidewalk, oh well!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Our Lady of Assumption

Over the years, I've become what one might call a "lapsed Catholic". While I still hold many of the beliefs, going to mass on a weekly basis has fallen by the wayside. It started in college when I worked most Sundays/didn't have my mother to force me to go.

I had a Catholic wedding, and my child has been baptized...but that's about it. I decided when we moved here that I would start attending church again, because I appreciated the structure that it provided me through childhood. Growing up, I had great priests. The best being the priest who is still serving, and married me/baptized H. He is liberal in his thinking, and made going to church as enjoyable as possible for a 17 year old brat, with the exception of the man we dubbed Father Speedy, because he said mass inside of 25 minutes without fail...it was awesome!

Fast forward 11 years, and here I am. In order to prepare for my return I purchased Catholicism for Dummies, What Catholics Really Believe and Inside the Catholic Mass. I was not going to be standing there, forgetting the words to the Nicean Creed or the Profession of Faith. I had overheard one of the other mothers in my group talking about her priest, referring to him as Father X (we'll call him) and saying how he's very liberal, and enjoyable to listen to, applicable to today, etc.

I finally asked the mom what church she attends and she said St. X (We'll call it). I was so excited to have found what I thought would be the perfect fit. Yesterday, I got myself ready ensuring that I replaced my wedding rings after applying lotion. As my husband is not Catholic and won't be attending with me, I wanted to ensure that everyone understood that I was not an unwed mother.

I packed H's bag with goldfish crackers, raisins, juice/water mix, and a string chesse, along with three Dr. Seuss board books that make no noices. I dressed him smartly in a brown corduroy suit and a striped button-down shirt. He looked very handsome, and I spent the drive explaining that he would have to sit in his seat through the time we were there, and that Mommy packed lots of fun things for him to do/eat.

I had seen the school attached to the church in passing on the way to another activity once, so didn't bother mapquesting. When I arrived at the school, I did not see the church, but a nice couple directed me, stating it was just around the corner on a different street.

I was feeling rather smug, so I called my oh-so-Catholic little sister (her nickname growing up was Sister Mary Mandy) to let her know that I was on my way to church! My dad answered, and said he would pass on the message, as my sister was at their house visiting, but that they were all happy I was returning.

Ahhhh...I've re-secured my position of favorite daughter (there are four of us).

I pulled up in front of the church, to be greeted with the sign "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." Great! I have the wrong church. I put the car in gear to keep driving, when I saw the sign "St. X Episcopal Church"....WHAT?!? At a prior time, this mother had referred to herself as Catholic...did I hear incorrectly?

All this time, I assumed that the mom was talking about a Catholic church...all the subtle lingo was there! Growing up in a Mormon/Catholic household (yes, my Dad's Mormon and my Mom's Catholic, and they each attend their own church), I've learned that when people refer to Jesus as Heavenly Father, or talk about CTR or Seminary, they're most likely LDS. (A plethora of relatives from Utah doesn't hurt either, or having more than 6 siblings). I thought that I was going to a Catholic Church...I was SO disappointed.

Please let me state firmly, that I have NOTHING against Episcopalians, I'm just not one...like when Charlotte is converting to Judaism, and her friends say, "But youself is Episcopalian" well, my self is Catholic. I may be lapsed, but I haven't lapsed into another faith...

I called Sister Mary Mandy back, and she laughingly said, "What are you calling to get some coaching on what to say?" I said "It's even sadder!" in the most pathetic voice, relayed the story and made her laugh harder.

Well, I guess when you assume...

Next week, I'll be heading to St. Mary's in my town, as I looked in up in the yellow pages under Catholic Churches, let's hope that one's right.
On a side note, as I was typing, I heard H saying "Bad, Bad Bad!" I asked him what he was doing, and looked over the ledge of the loft, to see him holding a ball point pen. I had him hand me the pen, and asked if he had drawn on the wall. He replied "Yes. Bad! Bad!" I said, "If you knew it was bad, why did you do it?!" He looked at me blankly...I now know the reason that we HAVE to go to church...Catholic guilt kept me from being bad while in my parent's home during the teen years.