Saturday 18 November 2006

Baby Talk

I finally managed to go and see my sister. The journey wasn't bad at all - the M25, M3 and M4 were all pretty clear for a change - and I managed not to get lost, at least until I arrived in Pangbourne. Then, not being able to remember where her house was, I had to phone for directions. But it turned out that I was only about three minutes' drive away.

Martina is very pregnant. 33 weeks to be precise. Everything seems to be progressing well - and Martina gleefully informed me that everything in the "having-a-baby week-by-week manual" has happened bang on cue. My brother-in-law seems to share my views on all these advice and self-help books - namely that if you read too much you just get confused...

We all spent an agreeable afternoon discussing the progress of her pregnancy: I got to see several ultrasound pictures at various stages - she had to have several scans because she experienced such heavy and unexplained bleeding earlier in the pregnancy - and was treated to a DVD of my nephew/niece at the age of 11 weeks. It was really amazing: he/she could be seen clearly sucking on a thumb. Awesome!

I was also able to feel the baby moving around, though he/she wasn't as active (according to my sister) as normal. It was a little weird watching my sister's bump suddenly move... and I got a bit of a shock when the baby "kicked" my sister's belly-button out!! It's all terrifically exciting, and it's now dawning on me that I'm really and truly going to be an aunt!

The down-side is that I also got the distinct impression I was being "groomed" for babysitting duties...


The baby is due January 10th. Prayers to St Gerard for a safe delivery would be very much appreciated!

Friday 17 November 2006

Friday Abstinence

Going out for a meal on a Friday night is a bit of a wake-up call for me these days. I usually eat pasta of some description, and I don't find it that difficult to maintain the Friday abstinence rule... even though I loathe vegetables, I like cheese and eggs and can usually rustle something up (despite what I said in my last post about not cooking!)

However, going out for dinner is rather a different kettle of fish... in more ways than one! As well as not eating vegetables (potatoes don't count, especially if they're chipped!), I'm not particularly fond of fish. This limits my choices somewhat, especially if, like tonight, I have to pick something from a set menu.

I know that the abstinence rule on Fridays has been relaxed. However, I also know that the requirement to perform some alternative penance on a Friday has not. And quite frankly, hunting around for something I can do each week is a hassle - which generally means that the penance is forgotten completely.

At first I was worried that not eating meat on Fridays didn't seem that much of a penance. My spiritual director reassured me on that score: it isn't the difficulty that makes it a penance, it's the fact that I have to stop and think about it: a reminder that it's Friday and I need to make a special effort, for the love of God.

Union of Catholic Mothers

I have just come back from a rather entertaining evening with our parish UCM. I'm not a mother, and never will be, but I was assured by our branch president that actual motherhood wasn't required: as long as I can promise to support Catholic mothers and the institution of the family, I am eligible to join. After a bit of arm-twisting, I bowed to the inevitable... I don't often get to take part in their activities and meetings, but I can support them through my prayers. And I get to join in with the odd event.

We've got quite an active UCM in our parish: they do all sorts of wonderful things, from fund-raising to catering at parish events. As it so happens, although it's not a parish event, as such, the UCM will be taking care of the catering side of things at my renewal of vows. This is just as well, because the nearest I get to cooking these days is sticking a lasagne in the microwave...

Tonight about 17 of us went to a local restaurant for a bit of a do. The restaurant boasted live entertainment - an Elvis impersonator, who also did Brian Gibb of the Bee Gees as a sort of warm-up. A couple of my friends commented that he didn't look much like Elvis, and I pointed out that this was because they were thinking of Elvis when he was "Elvis-the-pelvis": young, handsome and slim. If you thought about Elvis when he was getting to be rather porky and somewhat the worse for wear due to drink and drugs, then this chap was the spitting image...

Despite this, he was definitely entertaining. My only complaint was the backing track he used which effectively limited conversation unless you were willing to scream over it...


H/T to Carolina at The Crescat

Springing Souls from Purgatory

I spotted this cartoon over at Carolina Canonball's blog. She saw it on Tracy's blog, endearingly called Catholic Knitwit... so that's another one for my blogroll...

Thursday 16 November 2006

A Bun in the Oven?

I misunderstood Ma Beck's blog: I thought the references to pregnancy were to her own. However, it seems that she is actually going to adopt, and so needs to raise money for the legal fees.

So Ma Beck is getting down to some baking. I'm not sure what a Pound cake actually is, but the varieties she has suggested here (all made to her grandmother's secret recipe) sound delicious. Fr. Tim (of Hermeneutic of Continuity fame) has already ordered a couple, and Ma Beck has posted a picture of the Mint Chocolate one. Apparently one of the two is destined for his niece's Confirmation... I am rather interested in the proposed fate of the second one...


UPDATE: It would seem that Fr. Tim thought I was hinting... and the blueberry pound cake will be making an appearance at my renewal of vows on December 2nd.

Wednesday 15 November 2006

Robin Hood BBC Style

Paulinus is in fine form this evening. His excellent summary of the latest version of Robin Hood, courtesy of our Beloved Broadcasting Corporation (...NOT!), had me in stitches. What I'd read of the programme previously had made me want to avoid it like a dose of the plague (or, in my case, like a dentist) and it would appear that I was right...

I am sorely tempted to throw my TV out. However, I do need to watch the odd DVD on something...

Screwtape Lives

I loved this cartoon, which I spotted on Carolina Cannonball's blog, The Crescat.

Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

I'm afraid that I'm not really a nature lover. It's all very well, in its place, but that place is generally somewhere else. Don't get me wrong: I love to look at "nature stuff"... on TV, or from inside somewhere warm and dry. Sitting outside is ok, but only if it's outside a pavement café or restaurant.

I also get more than a little irritated by the type of animal lover who thinks animals are sweet and cute and cuddly and more important than wicked humans, or who campaign for animal "rights" while millions of babies are murdered through abortion.

So I had to laugh when I heard about the bird watchers who had all gathered on the Angus coast to watch a particularly rare swallow over from the continent. People had travelled for miles and miles to see this bird, which hadn't been seen for twenty years. Unfortunately, while they watched, a sparrowhawk swooped, and promptly gobbled up the rare morsel...

Tuesday 14 November 2006


I really hate dentists...

...I suppose they are necessary....

...but I am such a coward, I really hate going to the dentist. I only go when I have severe toothache. I've never met a nice dentist. They always say, "Tell me if it hurts, and I'll stop." And then they ignore you. And why do they wait until you have a mouth full of metalware before striking up a conversation which requires you to respond??

...Unfortunately, I have to go again....


Vocations Crisis?

I have to say that I was very encouraged by this new blog: Orthfully Catholic is written by a bunch of seminarians. And it's great to see that they're not afraid to speak up in defense of our Faith.

...looks like Holy Mother Church is preparing a bumper crop for the Sacred Priesthood... I just hope they'll be in my diocese. Anyway, chaps, you're all in my prayers (and if any of you fancy an excuse for a trip to Blackfen, you'd be most welcome on December 2nd when I renew my vows!!)

Monday 13 November 2006

Vanity, Vanity !

I have a large streak of vanity in my nature. Not that there's much to be vain about, but... !

I'm blonde. Naturally so. Unfortunately, I'm not the exact shade of blonde that I think suits me best. So Mother Nature gets a helping hand. I don't often have the time to get to a hairdresser (not as often as I'd like) so I am what Fr Edward Holloway (late co-founder of the Faith Movement) once described as a "suicide blonde" - dyed by her own hand...

My roots really need touching up. I have the necessary chemical weaponry, but I am so tired that I have visions of falling asleep in mid session. And I have had enough disasters in my time when I have been wide awake. I really do not need to wake up platinum. Or orange. My hair does weird things if it feels neglected...

...on reflection, it might be better to leave well alone, or there will be tears at bedtime!

Bribery and Corruption

It doesn't seem to matter what age the students are... the appearance of chocolate bars on the teacher's desk for the best work produced seems to have an incredible effect!!

Sunday 12 November 2006

Musical Notes

I spent an enjoyable hour or so visiting a friend of mine after Mass this evening. She's a musician, and it's a real pleasure to hear her comments about music, liturgical or otherwise. Admittedly, as I have zero musical education ("...but I know what I like!" must be among the most hated phrases for those who actually know anything about music, or art for that matter!), most of what she says goes straight over my head...

...however, we both think that Gregorian chant is great, and agree that there's not enough of it in the average parish Mass. I was explaining that I want to learn a little more of the "bog standard" chants for the Credo, Gloria and so on, and asked her if she had any music I could borrow, as I'd only been able to find the special, fancy Mass settings, like the Mass of the Annunciation... The descriptions on Amazon aren't particularly helpful!!

Note to self: never talk to a proper musician about "music" when one actually means "recording"...

Regretfully, as I cannot read music, I had to turn down her offer to lend me her books containing the musical scores for the most popular chants. The history behind liturgical music also sounds fascinating, and she had several weighty tomes on that too, but I think I'd better leave well alone until I have a little more free time, like during the Summer holidays. Or retirement!

I did leave clutching a CD of music in honour of Our Lady, sung by the choir of the London Oratory, and I'm listening to it in the background as I type. It's gorgeous, and I shall have to get my own copy. It's sold in support of Aid to the Church in Need so that's another reason to get it for myself. My friend also informed me that she thought a group called "The Music Makers" had brought out a recording of the most usual Mass settings, so I shall have to explore that one.
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