This past Sunday, we went to Mass downtown at the Civic Center, where the EWTN Family Celebration was happening. The music was stellar. I mean, it’s mostly good most of the time at EWTN Masses, but I was impressed by the selection this time – the Mass settings (chant-y, but mostly in English) were robust and rather interesting, but still quite singable. They sang an absorbing Benedictus at Communion. I wish I knew what the settings where, but I don’t.
We didn’t hang around very long after Mass, but we did see Johnette Benkovic, Joy Pinto, and for the second time in two weeks, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle.
The boys are probably going to train to be altar servers at Casa Maria (my favorite place to attend Mass in this town), an experience which will definitely expand their horizons, sharpen their minds and test their facial muscles. No. Nonsense.
I gave a talk at a meeting of our local Confraternity of Christian Mothers. It was a good gathering of mothers of all ages, and I think a model of what should be happening all over in Catholic parishes. There’s no reason to think that the Protestant megachurch model is the ideal “engaged parish” model, or one that Catholics should even try to emulate, when we have scads of “small group” type possibilities lurking in our own traditions, ancient and recent. Speaking of small groups, I heard that another one of the women’s groups in our parish is using The Words We Pray for study this fall. Always gratifying to hear things like that.
Michael is starting piano lessons in a couple of weeks. We met with the instructor earlier this week, and today as we were leaving a store he struck his forehead and said, “Oh, I didn’t practice yet today. But I don’t understand how I’m supposed to do that.” “Do what?” I asked, a little confused. He does play a little, based on what I’ve been teaching him over the past few months, and he does so daily just for his own enjoyment, but I didn’t know he was that committed. “She said I have to practice thirty minutes a day, but what am I supposed to practice?”
He was relieved to learn that the commitment to daily practice doesn’t kick in until you actually start the lessons.
I drove up to the Old House yesterday to find two women scavenging in the front planting beds. They stood up, and we stared at each other. I thought I recognized one of the women from down the street – I knew it was her, but her being in my flower bed didn’t compute, and she looks enough like one of the employees of the landscape guy that part of my brain thought it might be her, but there was no truck, so I was almost as confused as Michael was about the whole piano issue.
“May I…help you?” I asked.
“Oh,” one of the women said, “We were told that you don’t live here anymore.”
“Well, I don’t, but I still own the house…”
“We were told that you’d left this stuff here – ” a few flower pots, some gardening tools that were on the porch and in the beds – “for anyone to take. We’re going to start gardening.”
I was almost speechless, but not quite. “Who told you that?” She waved in a generally eastward direction. “People down there, and we’re sorry, we’re not stealing, they said you were giving it away…” she continued as they set all the pots back and hurried back down the street….
….I need to sell that house….on the market week after next, after the tile guys get done, for sure…..
I had a bunch of vodka. What does it come in? A fifth? Well, it was about half of that. It was my father’s supply for his visits. (He died almost 2 years ago). I don’t drink vodka, so there it’s been resting, under my sink. I only took it out to shake a bit of it into a sorbet mixture now and then. (The alcohol works against an icy texture and helps keep it smooth.)
But then I looked at the vodka, remembered that I had vanilla beans, so now some vanilla extract is stewing.
I think I probably need a few more beans.
It doesn’t look great, but even after just four days, it definitely smells vanilla-y. They say to give it a month, at least.
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