Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It is Hard to be a Catholic

I will be 49 in a few months.  Seems like I just received my first communion yesterday.  In fact, I still have my 70's inspired communion dress hanging in my closet.  I am a cradle catholic.  I am a cradle, questioning, trying to be good, catholic.

Oh, but it's hard.

It's hard for so many reasons.  And not in any particular order, but the first that comes to mind is the churches stand on female priests.  Yup, I know both sides of the argument but fundamentally for me it is simple.  I was called.  I felt a clear, persistent calling as a teenager but couldn't follow because I was catholic.  It is also difficult to tell your daughters you can be anything you want except the most respected job of your religion because of your sex.  Your gender.  The one thing you can't change.  It is also hard because when you talk to the parish priest about they think - they say that it just doesn't feel right if there isn't a man on the alter.  Huh.

It is really hard to be Catholic.

I live with a small measure of guilt if I don't attend mass on Sunday or the required holy days.  I see my first grade teacher, Sister Ann, drilling those days into my small, pliable mind.  Yet, here I am, not of the retirement-get-of jail-free-age but truly struggling with pain and I just feel guilty.  It's only an hour.  And I sometimes get something out of it.  But the work to go is so hard.  The pain to sit on that bench and loose the feeling in my leg.  Ugh.  The guilt because I know it is only an excuse as I stare at the man who died on the cross.

It is really hard to be Catholic.

I endured the joy and eventual disappoint in Pope John Paul II.  Yes, this may anger quite of few people but I expected more when he became Pope.  I expected radical and sweeping change.  I know I was of an age when you want everything to move quickly and why shouldn't it, says your 20-year-old self.  Realistically, now, I know that change in the Catholic church is like dancing with an elephant.  I was disheartened when the next guy came in.  He looked so ghoulish and hard. Yet, now I am cautiously optimistic.  Maybe, there will be some change.  Or the beginning of change.

I am also trying hard to find a Pollyanna way to end this essay.  Not sure how.  Only that I am still Catholic.  It is hard to be Catholic.

Perhaps that is the point.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Old Classics

I love the old classics.  Not the traditional greek or Canterbury Tales.  No, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Gilman and old Xanth fantasy.  Those books that I read a young girl who eagerly devoured them from cover to cover. 

The winter is leaving and outside I hear bursts of song birds.  The air is still cold and the snow hasn't quite left yet.  Here in NE Ohio we have been known to have snow into April.  I am not sad about the snow leaving.  I am sad about the winter leaving though.

When the sky is gray with bitter cold winds and large snow flakes, I read.  Something in me reaches for those tried and true classics that feel like a warm sweater.  I dip in and force myself to slow down so I can read each and every word.  I slowly turn the pages as I greet each sentence like an old friend.

Of course I know the plot, characters and dialogue by heart.  But I still do it anyway.  The comfort of those books keeps the depressing gray skies from bringing in too much doom and gloom.  Those books are old friends that I keep on the shelves.  We visit every winter and spend many a peaceful time together.

Soon warmer weather will be here for good.  Then I will be outside, planting flowers, taking walks, riding bikes and reading new books.  Spring and summer are perfect for new friends.

Winter is perfect for the old.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Musings from the Couch Deux

I read an article a few years ago proposing that there is nothing new in the world.  No new thought.  No new ideas.  Nothing new.  The author proposed that what we conceive as new are really two separate ideas combined in different ways.

Sad.  I rather like the thought of new in the world.  But that is for another post.

Today, I wanted to address that he could be right.  Just go with me for a moment . . .

I was fishing in a video game I play with my son.  I caught a squid.  As my digital, cartoonish character held the wiggly squid aloft I realized that this guy could be right. 

The squid was a opaque white with dangling tentacles and eyes on opposite sides of his body directly above the tentacles.  I knew it was a squid because it said so on the screen.  Looked nothing like the squid from the aquarium or from Sponge Bob.  This was no Squidward.

Nope, this was an Ood.

Yes, you Dr. Who fans are saying of course Ann, the Ood were based on squids.  But you see I never saw it really.  They carry their brains in glowing balls.  I was far more focused on that detail.  And those tentacles came from their mouth atop a large body.  Sorry, but the resemblance is pretty far fetched to a squid.

So you can see why I think this author is right.  Someone, somewhere, in Dr. Who writing world, created a character that resembles a squid.  This character is so surreal and strange yet very familiar.  Creative but the same.

Yup, I do believe that perhaps creativity is not something from nothing but two different nothings creating a something.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Musings from the Couch

The internet flickers now and again and of course, whatever I am watching or listening comes to an abrupt halt.  Then follows those flights of thought that take wing in alarming directions.  I thought that was a nice turn of cliché, huh?

So this post will focus on two of those recent flights.  I will call them Netflix Folly and SyFy Ignorance.

The first is purely from a writer's point of view.  I much prefer writing -- screen, novel or any - where the plot and points are tied up nicely.  If the author starts a thread of thought then please resolve it.  Drives the dedicated reader crazy when they can't figure out why the purple sweatered girl was mentioned in the café scene.  What was the purpose?  JK Rowling and Joss Whedon are masters at this craft.  Their stories are so finely interwoven with clever prose that you are guaranteed that every word is treated like precious gold.  They do not fritter or scamper with their plot points.  They are placed there for a precise reason.  If you don't know it yet -- you will.

Hence the folly of Netflix for all those screen writers that do not treat the written word as religiously.  For now, there are whole seasons, hours and weeks of TV to replay without interruption.  Those plot holes you hoped to  slip by unnoticed are now glaring, gaping maws of monsters.  (another nice turn of phrase -- feel free to borrow.)  If you start a character down a path and then the next episode is nowhere near that path -- we will notice.  And wonder.  And stop watching.  Be warned.  You can't escape from normal viewers anymore.

Now onto the SyFy ignorance.  Ignoring the stupid network title - really folks?  really? - let's focus on the true lack of corporate support.  Over and over, the network starts a great show with a focus on good writing, acting and interesting premise.  Then who knows what happens, not enough profit I suppose, they stop.  Or they veer off and make no sense.  I don't know but it is very irksome.  Yes, I like science fiction/fantasy as much as the next person.  I am a closet trekkie - but who isn't anymore thank you Benedict Cumberbatch.  That doesn't excuse this complete lack of support for quality programming.  Get your head out of the ledger, commit to a show and then watch the money flow.  Go as you are now, and you will be doomed.

Now, I will put away my eraser, crystal ball and go back to Netflix.  If the internet is working again!  

Next up, AT&T and Sprint - get your act together!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pure Peace

So my husband and son are at the local football game.  My daughters are doing whatever college kids do on Friday nights – I know, I know but please don’t tell me.  I am enjoying a quiet evening home and I made a slight mistake.

I made an over strong rum and coke.

I mean really over strong.  I am slightly tipsy.  And writing my blog.   This promises to be very funny.  Or very wrong.  Who can tell?  Well, tomorrow I can tell.  But right now, let’s just roll with it.

Most days I do my work with video rolling constantly in the background.  The sound and plot other thoughts intruding.  Thoughts like when will I die? Will my son be OK?  Do I really need to clean this?  I can just keep moving and those thoughts move to the background.  Maybe never to be heard.

At one point I thought I was the only one with thoughts that circled endlessly.  Now I believe that anyone who goes through trauma has the same problem.  Endless circling thoughts. 

Tonight I was watching Grey’s Anatomy, slightly tipsy, and a moment of pure thoughtlessness occurred.  The song “Sun” by Sleeping At Last came on.  The song has a beautiful refrain.  “We are the dust of dust, We are the apple of God's eye, We are infinite, AS the universe will hold you inside.”  For one brief moment all that I heard was the refrain.  No inner dialogue.  No to do list cycling through.  Only those haunting words.  And a moment of connectedness.  A moment where time stopped and I felt whole.  A moment of where I connected from earth to sky.  A pure moment of peace.

Thank you rum.  Thank you Sleeping at Last.  Thank you Greys .  Thank you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When Someone Believes in You

I know my family believes in me.  Yet a complete stranger called and asked that I write a story on traveling to Disney with an autistic child.  Then he asked for another story.  And another.  And another.  Plus, he paid me!

I know that it seems small to some people.  To me, it is huge! It is the faith of a complete stranger in my work. Similar to a complement of a stranger on your clothes. Somehow we place more value on a strangers complement than our own family.

I get that and I do understand why.  Our family feels the obligation of being nice and they love us unconditionally.  A stranger doesn't have to say anything so their complement is more meaningful.  Sure, makes sense.

Yet, I would hope in my heart that my family really means it.  I mean it when I complement them.  I am honest when I tell them what I think and why.  I would hope that is reciprocated.

Yet, there is a thrill when a stranger does it.  So I am sending a sincere thank you to God for all the editors that believe in me!  Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Quick question for you reader, what was the last complement you received from a complete stranger?  Comment and share the positive!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


My daughters are now in college.  How I envy them!  I remember those days so clearly.  Young, able bodied, exciting and safe all at the same time.  Looking back I realize that college was more than another text book to read but an environment to practice being an adult with your parents nearby.  The independence of those years was intoxicating.

I also miss them.  It is cliché to say it seems like yesterday but there is truth to clichés.  While I don't remember my breakfast this morning, I do remember feeding them their breakfast fifteen years ago.  I remember all those tedious details of hair combing, clothes selection, meals, homework, and all the drama involved with young girls.  Sigh.

I am now a woman in a house of men.  Not that I talk about it with my husband because he was outnumbered for so many years.  And I am certainly not the feminine sort.  Yet, I miss helping with their outfits, hair and the general chatter that follows them.  I feel very alone sometimes.

Or perhaps it is loneliness that stems from their leaving whether they are girls or boys.  The house is quieter.  I make far less food and wash fewer clothes. 

No, I do miss them.  I feel that we became more than mother and daughter in the last few years.  I hope we became friends.