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Friday catblogging

Perhaps the best part of it is what the framed object in the background is:

The Magnificat! (The wonderful calligraphy is from Brother Roy of Mount Calvary in Santa Barbara, California).

Behold Foster in her glory:

Fostermagnificat

riday

December 30, 2005 in Cats | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Friday catblogging

My honey and I were watching a lovely classic movie, and I got out a pillow to lie across the sofa for the second half of the film, at which point Foster just said, "thanks for setting out this little throne for me ... it's just the thing!" and settled herself down on it.

Fosterpillow

December 30, 2005 in Cats | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

more panda pics

If you'd like to see more of Tai Shan, the ineffably adorable panda cub I saw yesterday (and plan to see again tomorrow morning!), you're in luck. Such cuteness!

December 29, 2005 in Life and Whatnot, Pictures | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

the ineffable cuteness of being (a panda cub)

I'm staying in a hotel in DC, and so I decided to check out Tai Shan, the little panda cub at the National Zoo. I left my hotel to walk to the zoo at 7:00 a.m., and then stood in line until 8:00 to get a ticket to view Tai Shan in his indoor play area. But the little guy gets to play outside in the mornings now, so I watched him outdoors (brrrrr!) until he went inside, then took a look around the rest of the zoo and warmed myself in the Small Mammal House unti it was time to get in line to see him more closely indoors.

Ohmigawd this little guy is cute! It was SO worth the early rising and the long waiting.

Pandacub3

Oh, and he was especially adorable when he got into his little tub with a soccer ball in it to play.

Pandacub4

December 28, 2005 in Life and Whatnot | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday catblogging returns!

Karen was in the throes of grading exams and such all week, and Foster decided to help in her usual way:

Fostergrading

December 23, 2005 in Cats | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

gosh, this is good

Here's a totally excellent email from a Presbyterian pastor to his congregation explaining why his congregation is having all regularly scheduled worship services on Christmas Day, which this year also falls on our weekly feast of Christ's resurrection -- AKA Sunday.

I think it's appalling that so many pastors are suggesting that it would be somehow un-Christian to hold services of worship on Christmas Day, as this might interfere with families' taking time together on Christmas Day. First off, are we just blowing smoke when we talk about being brothers and sisters in Christ or in the human family? If your family claims to be Christian, how can you say that spending time with your sisters and brothers is not “family time”? And if you're a parent, you can be sure that your children are paying attention to how you live when they're assessing how much you mean that whole Baptismal Covenant thing. Secondly, what about those in your congregation who don't live with biological family, don't have biological family close by, and/or aren't currently on good terms with biological family? When even regularly scheduled services are canceled so parents and children can open presents together at a particular time (what on earth is wrong with the afternoon of December 25 for opening presents together, or with having the big biological-family dinner on December 24, if going to church on December 25 would somehow render it impossible to do dinner properly on that day?), what message does that send to single adults about their role in the community?

I understand that there are a lot of people who will choose to celebrate Christmas after sundown on December 24 (which is perfectly fine in our sundown-to-sundown reckoning of holy days), as in fact many of us do customarily anyway. But I've never complained about needing to work on both the evening of the 24th and the morning of the 25th, and I don't understand why it's so much of a bigger deal to go to church and/or work in one when the 25th is a Sunday. At least it isn't the 24th on a Friday, the 25th and a Saturday, and the 26th on a Sunday ... that was quite a work schedule.

Hope these final hours of Advent are a blessing to y'all!

December 22, 2005 in Churchiness | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

audio oddity

I'm an Advent purist myself, but Karen (my partner) likes to listen to Christmas music in December, so I made a lengthy iTunes playlist of Christmas music, and last night my computer was singing away through the stereo in the living room with Karen while I was cooking in the kitchen (a spicy hot chocolate drink with cinnamon and ancho chiles, inspired by the fabulous Maggi Dawn).

I'd recently installed a screensaver from a CD that U2.com sent to members, though, that has an image of a woman's face and the sound of a woman's voice reading from the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. About ten minutes after the screensaver kicked in (leaving my iTunes playlist of Christmas music still going), Karen wandered into the kitchen saying, "honey, I think there's something wrong with the computer." When I walked into the living room, this bizarre audio juxtaposition was playing, and I thought it was funny enough to share with y'all.

Enjoy!

December 12, 2005 in Silliness | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

thought-provoking public art for Christmas

The Hopeful Amphibian (who will be missed in blogdom — happy trails, and may you find your break from blogging rejuvenating!) points to a Glasgow art student's project, which I think is provocative in the best sense: it provokes thought, and gets us questioning something that in our culture is taken for the most part as an unqualified good, and that has given rise to a massive seasonal industry:

Santa Claus.

The artist has a website explaining his project. Like many students, he's given to rhetoric that's a little on the shrill side, so I'd rather let his images speak for themselves. Here's the most powerful one, I think:

Billboardlarge

I think our extended family will be trying something new this year: we're going to get a few very simple gifts for one another, but most of what we would have spent in previous years on gifts will be pooled together, and then as a family -- with participation from the little ones as much as possible -- we'll decide together what gifts from Episcopal Relief and Development's catalog of Gifts for Life, or another similar program, explaining to our elder niece (who's the only child in the family old enough to have a conversation with) what the various gifts — a flock of chickens, school tuition for a child in the developing world, and so on — mean so she can help which gifts our family's contribution will buy. I figure that if we do this every year, our nieces will grow up associating Christmas with a gift for the world rather than just for ourselves and our loved ones, and will also grow up knowing something about how different our patterns of consumption are from those of most other people in the world.

What do y'all do in your families and congregations to help facilitate 'teachable moments' for children about justice in the midst of the Christmas season's difficult-to-avoid commercial frenzy?

December 12, 2005 in Churchiness, Episcopal Relief and Development | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack