Proudly Meeting Minimum Standards

Katie: Mommy, I think we’re pretty good kids, because we haven’t set the house on fire.

I’m not making this up.

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Lunacy

Maybe they should just let the people vote about whether or not they want female clergy:

Anglican ordination of women leads to two types of Communion at cathedral

An Anglican cathedral is trying to accommodate those of its faithful who do not accept female clergy by allowing parishioners to decide whether to accept communion bread blessed by its female canon or by a male priest.

So we’ve got Catholics and Orthodox who use the Bible and tradition. We’ve got Bible-alone Protestants. Now we get doctrine-by-poll. Women priests? Take a vote! Homosexual bishops? Polls are now open! Is it wrong to cheat on your taxes? It was yesterday, but the latest Zogby results say it’s okay (just don’t get caught).

The practice was attacked by Sally Barnes of the Anglican feminist group Women and the Church. She said it was “unacceptable and disgraceful” to turn communion into “a buffet.”

No, Sally, it’s not a buffet, it’s a cafeteria.

A daily rant and poll

I’ve discovered a growing pet peeve. It never used to bother me, then it bothered me a little. Now it bugs the daylights out of me.

Using Lenten feast days as an excuse to eat meat on Fridays.

First it was St. Patrick’s Day, and certain bishops wanted to make sure that the faithful could indulge in green beer and corned beef even if March 17th fell on Friday as it did it 2006 and 2000. Now as much as I love St. Patrick, his feast is a minor feast day, so this is really pushing it.

But March 19th is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Next year it is on a Friday. My Catholic homeschool group wants to do a father-son meal on this day, and many of the women felt that serving meat was fine since it was his feast day.

“We are required to celebrate solemnities,” pointed out one woman.

“But we aren’t required to eat meat, “ said I. She agreed, but she and many others thought that meat could still be an option, for example, if the dinner was spaghetti with meatballs, you could decline the meatballs if you were one of those holy-than-thou people who thought that eating meat on Friday during Lent was wrong.

Now, I don’t eat meat on Fridays as a general rule – even outside of Lent, and I’m willing to accept that others may choose different sacrifices outside of Lent. But it annoys me when Catholics socialize as Catholics on Fridays (as my homeschool group does once a month) and nobody encourages going meatless. We do a potluck, and my dish will be the only meatless dish. If we are all supposed to be doing some sort of sacrifice on Friday, wouldn’t it just be easier if we did the same one? If the Jones Family offers up cheese, they may have trouble finding a dish. And if the Smiths offer up sweets, then there will be a whole table of temptations. And if the saintly Reitemeyers give up meat, then they have to feed themselves or go hungry.

There’s not much point going to a potluck if you can’t eat anything served.

OK, so this part of my pet peeve is, obviously, growing, too. But sticking with the main part – eating meat on Fridays during Lent – I want to know how the rest of the Catholic world thinks (or at least the small fraction that comes here to visit). The Solemnity of St. Joseph is only seven months away. What do you plan to do? Do you think eating meat on his feast day is acceptable (assuming the Bishops give permission)? Do you think the requirement to “celebrate” necessitates the eating of meat or the eating of sweets?

And, since I obviously disagree with you if you do, I really want to hear some justifications as to why “Catholic-lite: the smooth, easy road to Heaven” is a good idea. Do you think this trend of minimal discomforts has made us a stronger church or better people? Do you think that voluntarily suffering is useless? Or are you just not interested in being challenged? What’s your problem, huh?

Battle Royal

It’s never fun to stumble out of bed and first thing see a problem.

It’s better to have your coffee first.

I suffered through mice this past fall and winter. I kindly caught and released them, nice person that I am, although I considered other options. Maybe I should join the Franciscan order.

But I’m not so nice to the kitchen ants. Tiny, annoying little things. I will say, though, that they force you to clean up every crumb and kool-aid spill. They really like kool-aid.

I had a man come out last week and spray. It worked for a bit, but then they came back. Not as many as before, but more than two or three. I can tolerate that many, since it only takes a few seconds to squish them, but after that, it’s too much work and quite a mess. Windex, for what it’s worth, either kills them or knocks them out on impact. Then your counters look like an aerial view of a battlefield with tiny bodies strewn about. It’s yucky, especially on the walls where the matte finish prevents them from wiping up easily.

Yesterday morning, I made my way to the sink to fill the coffee maker. There had to be 500 ants in it swarming over a single knife covered in peanut butter. Peanut butter, I thought, who had peanut butter last night? I knew I hadn’t left this knife there before I went to bed.

As soon as I turned on the water, the ants ran for the sides of the sink and started climbing out. I was able to catch most of them with the spray nozzle, but the fast ones had to be Windexed and wiped. Such slaughtering at such an early hour is so unpleasant.

An hour or so later, Billy woke up and proudly said, “I had a midnight snack last night!”

Yes, darling, I noticed.

Only a few random ants in sight this morning. No midnight snackers either. I’ve got the pest man scheduled to come back out on Thursday anyway.

Nostalgia

Fencing is an expensive sport, especially at the beginning when you have to buy the equipment. And when you have two beginners needing equipment, the outlay can be quite painful. For Christmas, the boys received all they needed to “dry” fence, that means to fence without all the fancy electrical equipment. They got a jacket, mask, sword, and a bag to carry it (they already had gloves). We spent more on them for Christmas buying that than we normally would spend on them in all. They didn’t get much else.

Now we’re moving them to an electric class which requires an electric sword, a body cord, and a lamé – a vest with metal filaments.

Ouch. I think I spent the same amount that I did on their Christmas package. And I guess one of them complained that the poking of the sword into the chest was uncomfortable, so the coach told them to get a chest protector. This plastic shield straps to the chest and costs so much that I wondered if it was bullet proof too. Personally, I think a painful poke in the chest will help make you a better fencer. It’s the Dodgeball method of improving your skills: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. If you don’t like getting poked, improve your parrying.

But besides the physical pain of buying the equipment, I didn’t expect the emotional pricks. My husband prefers épée, but when I met him, he was fencing foil because that’s what the team needed. My boys are fencing foil because that’s “classic” fencing where you really learn all the basic moves. Considering how much money I just spent, they will be fencing foil for quite some time. Their coach sized them up for blade length and decided that Fritz was ready for a full-sized weapon. We already own adult-sized foils. All I really needed was a right-handed grip. Grips are $5. Swords are over $100.

But I don’t know about the condition of my husband’s old equipment; I don’t know how to test or clean them; and I don’t know how to put them together. I sighed and not for the first time wished my husband were the one doing this or was at least just a phone call away.

I turned from blade selection to see Billy trying on a lamé. Suddenly, I was transported back nearly twenty years and there was a very young version of my husband suiting up for a bout. I don’t know if it was the way he zipped it or his demeanor or his physical appearance. But whatever it was, the memories of those early dating years rushed in for a brief moment.

Boy, do I miss this man.