Saturday, January 28, 2006

I'm a Presbyopian!

It's been a challenge to spend much time in the cafeteria this week. My world, you see, looks a lot like that eye chart. I got new specs this week.

They're bifocals. (Gasp!)

Truth be told, they're tri-focals. (Triple Gasp!) These new little lenses are designed to bring things -- near, far and in-between -- into focus.

Uh huh. So far, they're mostly making me nauseous. As my eyes move from one line on the screen to the next, the bottom of my monitor appears to make quite a dizzying move. (Whoah!)


Give it time, my optician says. My aging eyes, he assures me, will adjust.

Such is the life of a Presbyopian. (And, I thought I was a Cafeteria Catholic!) And, as a baby boomer presbyopian, I am enjoying the benefits of my generation's demands to stave off old age, and appear as youthful as possible for as long as possible.

Unlike generations before me, my over-40 corrective lenses have no lines, are apparently quite high-tech, and are packaged in a pair of nifty Australian frames that will have my colleagues mistaking me for a 20-something executive, I'm sure.

While visiting the optician earlier this week, I was reminded how we baby boomers have been reinventing everything we're up to. And, adapting to our aging eyes is no exception.

You see, these nauseau-inducing things on my face are no longer called "bi-focals" or "tri-focals." These days, they're called "Progressives".

Gotta love it. But, first I need something to settle my stomach.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Catholic Casts

It's amazing how some posts come together. At the risk of creating one giant shaggy dog story, here's a quick look at the path of origination for this one.

After reading that Pope Benedict is preparing an encyclical that clarifies the difference between love and lust (as if I needed help there), I wandered over to the Catholic Report to see if Dave was onto the story. Cruising through his site, I read that the St. Louis Jesuits have reunited and released a new CD. (As a guitar-strumming, folk-mass-song-leading teen in the 70s, the St. Louis Jesuits dominated my religious repertoire.) Eager to hear what the SLJs were dishing out, I traveled over to OCP Publications, their publisher, and took a gander at some of the latest liturgical composers. Wanting to give some of these works a listen, I landed at iTunes. There I heard the music of Dan Schutte (one of the SLJs) and others. It was a nice little step back in time.

iTunes is still relatively new to me. As one of the 14 million people who purchased or were gifted an iPod in the 4th quarter of last year, I'm just beginning to explore this haven of audio creations. My most recent discovery is the podcast. At iTunes you can click on more podcasts than you could listen to in a lifetime. Most are free. Yes, they can be quite addictive.

As a curious cafeteria catholic podophile, I was ever-so-intrigued to see how Catholicism is showing up in the podosphere. I entered "Catholic" into the search box, then clicked on the podcasts tab. About 100 titles appeared, ready for me to subcribe...all for free.

It'll take awhile to check out these titles. I'm called to check out those with the most intriguing descriptions, like the Catholic Bar Fight Podcast:
Two faithful Catholics (one Vatican II and the other Traditionalist) have at it with each other. We have a seriously good time.
I'm also eager to check out the Catholic Mormon Podcast by Sarah and Rob:
The CMP looks at the trials of a Mormon girl and a Catholic guy as they evaluated both churches and ended up turning to Rome.
Some of these catholic casters are long-time bloggers, like the guys at BustedHalo. For me, I'll remain a loyal podcast listener, but not a producer. Maintaining this blog on a very irregular basis is enough for me. (Though, I could pull out my guitar, St. Louis Jesuits sheet music and digital audio recorder...Imagine!)

Interested in checking out these Catholic podcasts? Go to iTunes and see for yourself. Hear something that speaks to you, or doesn't? Please report back here and let us know. I'd love to hear your reviews!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What? No Limbo?

Of all of the changes I've hoped to see as a Catholic adult, this was not one of them.

The Vatican's recent announcement that Limbo is, well, in limbo has been well documented on the web and in the blogosphere. Lee at From the Back Pew provided fun coverage. I know I'm a little late to this party, but I'm telling you, this hits me particularly hard.

Over the course of my Catholic schoolgirl life, I paid a lot of time and attention to limbo. I prayed hours for the lost souls in purgatory. I collected more nickels and dimes than I could ever count to collect Holy Childhood stamps to save pagan babies. I personally saved a lot of pagan babies!

And, where, I ask, are they now that limbo is no longer?

Were they actually hanging out in heaven all along? To which department were my lost souls prayers redirected? Where, exactly, were my nickels and dimes and Holy Childhood stamps deposited?

While I will (eventually) recover from this lost part of my Catholic childhood, now my attention turns to my limbo-less life as a Catholic adult.

Today, while chatting with a friend on the phone, I made a metaphorical reference to a situation being "in limbo". I instantly corrected myself, saying, "Actually, I take that back, as limbo is no longer."

Upon hearing the news, my friend made a most powerful observation, which I had not yet considered.

"What do you suppose that means for us?" she said. "Is this good news or bad?"

The two of us realized that, over the years, we had found a great deal of comfort knowing that if we screwed up our earthly lives, a waystation on the road to heaven was there waiting for us.

How low can you go?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

I thought all of the business about creationism vs. evolution was interesting. This takes the cake.
CNN is among those reporting that the age old question: Did Jesus exist? will be answered by the world's foremost authorities -- an Italian court.

Two men -- Enrico Righi and Luigi Cascioli -- both in their 70s,are battling it out. Both went to the same seminary school. However, along the way Cascioli became an athiest. Apparently, he has a bone to pick.
Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is "Sostituzione di Persona," or impersonation.
Righi reports he has no idea why he has been singled out for this fight. Both men admit the odds are against Cascioli, who says:
"It would take a miracle to win."
Don't you just wonder what a court in Roman Catholic Italy has to say about this one?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Not The One And Only

If I were to give up the biggest "time hog" in my life (next to blogging), it would be taking quizzes on the web. I don't know why I do it.

My latest endeavor is The Birth Order Predictor Quiz. It's sad that I have resorted to taking quizzes where I know the answers in advance. (I do actually know my my place in the birth order of my family.) But, it's fun because the answer that popped up recalled a long-held fantasy from my Catholic childhood in a big family: That I am an only child.
You Are Likely an Only Child
At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.
As I mentioned early on in my blogging career, I come from a rather large family. So, the "only child" status is wrong. The rest of it, though, is spot on. Frustration, organizing and worry are steady companions of mine. My friends call me emotional (and they mean that it a nice way) and sympathetic.

As a long-time manager and leader, I'm glad to see I've chosen an ideal career. Perhaps I'll refer the the Cafeteria as my ministry. And, maybe all this writing will make a nice self-help book one day.

Are you an only child from a big family, too? Take the quiz. (Go ahead. What's one little quiz gonna' hurt? You won't waste that much time....)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 05, 2006


What if you discovered that your parish priest -- the trusted soul with whom you celebrated Sunday mass, the baptism of your children or your own wedding -- wasn't a priest at all?

Such is the case in one Austrian village, where the community's friendly Father Axel is actually Gerhard the carpenter. Apparently, the priestly masquerade continued for some 25 years.

The Independent is on the story, which chronicles the carpenter's priestly journey through parishes in Germany and Austria. Early in his "career", Gerhard Vilsmeier impressed many parishioners with his works, and caused a few to call his credentials into question.
A popular figure, worshippers recalled how good he was with children. But when one parishioner watched him "blessing trees in a highly theatrical manner", she became suspicious. On a visit to the Vatican, she asked to check Fr Axel's records. There were none.
No charges have been filed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Forget

In the year 2006 I resolve to:
Forget my New Year's Resolution.

Now that we're four days into the New Year, I decided to give some thought to my resolutions. Susan recently posted a link that inspired me to trust fate and provided some powerful insight.

This one sounds good to me!

Get your randomly generated resolution here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Baby Jesus(es) Found

Happy New Year to all. After a couple of weeks of holiday merriment, I found it tough to get back into the swing of things today. How about you?

An early morning call today from one colleague summed it up for me: "Now that the cards are out, the shopping is done and the guests have come and gone, I'm finally ready to celebrate the holidays."

Me, too.

For those of us who are up for a bit more celebrating, the Feast of the Epiphany is just a few days away. As we approach this last gasp of the Christmas season, this little ditty at made me pause.

It seems that in one New Jersey community, the Baby Jesus has had a rough go this season. Apparently, a group of teenagers have been charged with stealing several statues of the Christ child in and around Sayreville, NJ. New Jersey police uncovered the statue stash in a parked car outside the home of an 18-year-old who was among those arrested for the crimes against the nativity.

The father of the alleged statue stealer had this to say.
"Michael has been hanging around the wrong people. He goes to college. He's an outstanding young kid."
Uh-huh. A perfect kid...until one day he decides to swipe a couple dozen Jesus statues.

One positive lesson comes from this caper. As Rev. Ken Murphy, pastor of St. Stanislaus Church -- which was victimized from the crime -- told his flock, we don't need to see Baby Jesus in the Nativity to be reminded of the true celebration of Christmas.
"As I told people ..., the most important thing is, we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Jesus is in many different places. If they saw the display and saw he wasn't there, they would be reminded that he is in them."