Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ah, words... sometimes they fail me...

So, a little before my last post I started working at one of the local papers. I knew it was a temp gig and that I was only filling in for the person who was out on sick leave. I hoped it would go through the end of the year but she came back on Monday. Man, you don't know how bored I was on Monday when I didn't go in to the Newsroom. I made my mom go shopping with me and did all sorts of stuff just to keep myself busy. At first the thought of working full-time was daunting and I kind of dreaded starting a new job, especially while I was still working at real estate. I am ready to give it up, IF and that's a huge word right now, something opened up for me at the paper. I'm hoping to get a shot at free-lance writing and I hope that I can prove to myself that I can still do journalism. (I can't believe I'm full of self-doubts about my writing. I write every day... fiction, not news.)

While there are things I really like about real estate, I'm not passionate about it, I'm not overly good at it and I'm definitely not self-disciplined enough to really make a career out of it. I'm kind of scared about the freelance writing gig as well. As long as there is work, I'll be able to do it, but I need to have a daily routine to keep me in the groove.

I have lots of balls in the air at the moment, I hope they all don't come crashing to the ground at the same time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Things I Never Knew...

The Vatican has an observatory and an official (well retired) astronomer. I wonder if he has a replacement? Interesting.

I think one of my biggest fantasies is to wander the many rooms and buildings inside and around the Vatican, its library and private collections just to see what's inside.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Little steps

After about 6 months, maybe a little less, I finally became a member of the church where I've been going. I've never been a member of any parish on my own as an adult. This past weekend I signed a pledge that I'd support the church a certain amount every week. When it all comes out, it's not all that much per year, (I really can't afford a lot) and I don't mind giving. I just realized that if I'm going to promise to give the church money, I should "officially" join. I've been wanting to join for many other reasons as well.

My parents were a member of the "Mother Church" downtown for their entire lives. They may still be on the record books as being members. I was baptized, confirmed and made my first communion there, then I graduated from high school and pretty much stopped going to church. I'd go from time to time at the Newman Center at College with my sorority sisters and friends, but I wasn't part of the community. I didn't really feel like I needed the church in college.

Like one of my characters, I felt (back then) that it was antiquated and far too conservative for me. Yet, I have always believed in something. I'm not going to deny the fact that I'm a political liberal and sometimes feel a bit at odds with the conservative nature of the church especially as a whole. BUT... I'm also not so sure that priestly celibacy is a bad thing and while I'm a feminist, I don't accept the notion that women should be priests. Right now they cannot and probably never will be in my life time, but I don't think that's such a bad thing either. (Funny, how just a few years ago I thought I'd like to see those two things change one day, but in now I don't.) Yes, there are married priests in the Catholic church-- they've come from other religions and have been dispensed of the requirements of celibacy. I'm sure they are assets to the church and I accept that. I'm glad they are part of our church. The enhance it and probably make it a lot better. Maybe one day celibacy will be an optional thing and maybe it will work. I just am (surprisingly) more traditional than I thought. I'm not big on hand-holding during the "Our Father" or all the other gestures that seem to have come to the church since the days I went away. I've yet to see liturgical dance, Mom says it does happen in our parish, and I might just cringe at the sight of it, or maybe I'll go with the flow and accept it for what it is. Who knows?

The priests at my church are quite orthodox, quite human and reverent. I don't go around looking for mistakes or liturgical abuses, (as so many people seem to do and complain about in Catholic forums, blogs and newsgroups Oy vey... that's a whole other post.) that's not why I go to Mass. I go to hear the words of God and the Lord read, celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass and listen to what words father has to say that day. They're usually always right, thought provoking or pertinent to what's going on in the world today. I've never heard a light and fluffy homily yet.

So while I'm also very fond of tradition, I am also fond of the open mindedness and tolerance of my local archdiocese. It's progressive, while rooted in tradition, culture and history. It embraces and accepts, rather than rejects and casts aside. That's probably why I am able to practice Catholicism. I'm probably naive enough to think it's like that everywhere, but probably cynical enough to know otherwise.

Despite the "lost years", I've always felt Catholic. I have been around other faiths enough to know they don't fit. Catholicism, to me, is like a comfortable pair of old slippers. Always there and always comfortable. No matter how bad I feel come the end of the day my slippers always fit. I can pretty much walk into any Catholic church and find something I need: peace, soothing words, God, love... so...after all these years I've joined the parish where I've been going. I joined under my own name and we'll see where I go from there.

Back to my characters. It's interesting in how in one story one character goes back to the church and the other, probably never will. She will always be Catholic but I don't know if that particular character will find herself fully and wholly Catholic again.

The other interesting bit about this, my characters are first cousins (main characters in their own stories respectively). If anything my stories show where I've been in the last ten years I think.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quiz Time...

I'm headachey...

So why am I taking quizzes? I should lie down till dinner.

You are 87% educated in Catholic truths!

Wow! You are totally educated in the Catholic faith. A real genius! Have you thought of teaching the faith to others? Be sure to share your wealth of knowledge with those who need it.

Catholic Truths
Take More Quizzes

You are a 92% traditional Catholic!

Congratulations! You are more knowlegeable than most modern theologians! You have achieved mastery over the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith! You should share your incredible understanding with others!

Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?
Make Your Own Quiz

Friday, November 2, 2007

Boo! You Scared Yet.

So... I'm glad to know that I'm a Catholic and a relatively sane one. I have the "documentary" channel on my DISH line up and just saw (passively) a documentary on some Evangelical church (probably in the bible belt) about the "Hell House" it does every year. I've seen news pieces on these alternatives to haunted houses and yes, they scare me... not because I'm worried about my soul or anything about that because I don't find any truth in that sort of message.

I've also read an interesting thread on a Catholic news forum. I've believed nor was lead to believe that there was anything intrinsically evil about Halloween. (I don't like dressing up in costume-- I didn't as a kid, I don't know. I don't care for costume balls either) but I enjoy watching kids in their costumes, passing out candy is a lot of fun and I know if I am lucky enough to have my own child one day, I will do the Halloween scene with my kid)
But lately, I've read more about how Halloween is evil, Satanic and just not at all a good thing. There is evil that happens on Halloween, but I believe it's man-made evil, which has nothing to do with Satan. I believe True Evil exists but I don't think that it all comes out on Halloween. It's all around us a, but I also don't believe that "the Devil made me do it" is the eve before All Saints Day and it's not a bad thing.

Their version of Christianity is not what I believe nor what I grew up to believe as a Catholic. I don't believe that I believe blindly nor do I feel like my faith (and religion) is any better-- Catholicism has its faults-- but it just makes so much more sense to me. To others, it doesn't, but I wasn't taught to hate, condemn or judge anyone when I was growing up. I know other non-Catholic Christians who feel and believe just as I do, but some of these Christian Extremists, as I think that these folks are, exist only to create fear and hate, not love and peace which should be the true message of Christ. I just found myself sitting here perplexed at all the effort these Christians put into these "productions" when they could be doing something so much productive than using scare tactics to evangelize.

Updated: I read later, that the creator of Hell House came from Roswell, NM (I believe) so... it didn't realy come from the bible belt per se.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saints Day...

I've been unintentionally absent from this blog. I have a post that I am still trying to articulate in my head before I actually sit down to write it. I'm just muddling through life and working through a lot of things.

But I continue on my journey back to the Catholic Church. Honestly I don't think I've really been that far away and I've always known that I'd never become any other religion. My non-denominational and evangelical acquaintances (some family and maybe even a few friends) have all invited to me to their churches and services but I usually politely say no thank you, I'm Catholic and not interested. I've never had a negative reaction-- and oddly enough they have not pressured me to come to their church once they discover I'm Catholic.

Lately, I don't know if it's because I've been doing a lot of reading and studying about Catholicism these days-- (as I'm writing a story which is turning out to be very, very heavy on the Catholicism. I hope it's not heavy handed, preachy and not overly religious because that's not the story I planned to tell. But when you make a main character have a brother who is a priest, some of that inevitably comes out. I really hope my story is rational and that someone who isn't Catholic can read it and enjoy it) -- and I've also become quite aware of all the anti-Catholicism out there. I really grew up in an unique place. Most of my peers were Hispanic and Catholic and so I never felt any animosity based on my ethnic background or religion, but with the Internet times are a changing.

Also, I've discovered that there are a lot of Catholics (I think maybe a small percentage) that I just can't agree with or understand. I won't deny that I'm liberal politically and socially. I'm pragmatic and try to see the world with eyes wide open. I'm not saying that a lot of Catholics don't, but sometimes, when I see or read something so conservative, so utterly "evangelical-like" or ludicrous my mind boggles. I'm totally not making any sense and will have to come back and think these thoughts through.

Nonetheless, the Internet is an interesting place. I'm leaving this a bit cryptic and will save my thoughts for another time-- however, I wonder if I could be comfortable worshiping in a Catholic church/parish/diocese that isn't like my own?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Spiritual Renewal

Spiritual Renewal.

I just came back from making the annual procession to the Cross of the Martyrs. It's the last event of the annual Fiesta. The fiestas have always had a religious aspect, but most people participate in the secular stuff, the burning of Zozobra, the two parades, the fashion show, the parties, balls, melodramas etc. But originally, the Fiestas were just religious-- they still are-- but they seem to get overshadowed by everything else. I've never done the religious celebrations. Tonight Mom, who in her 70 years or so of living, had never participated in the candlelight procession. I've spent the whole day with her and it was quite lovely. Anyway, we met the rest of our "parish" (we aren't officially members of the church we attend. I think we're still on the rolls at the Cathedral Basilica but that's where we felt most comfortable) in front of the the cathedral to walk up to the cross of the martyrs to complete the fiestas. It was an incredibly beautiful and spirtual moving experience. The marachis' played and we song the old, beautiful Spanish songs which I grew up with, it was a pretty solemn walk but it was truly fun too. Of course, I hate walking in processions because EVERYONE WALKS SO SLOW. I have no patience for little strides. But that's ok. At the top , there was a service, supposedly ecumenical, but it's truly obvious that this is still largely a Catholic town.

My family has been part of Santa Fe/Northern NM for over 400 years. It's been really wonderful participating in the old traditions of my family and renewing my faith in the spiritual and religious traditions I grew up with as well. I hope that I do have a child or two to pass down my culture, my history and even my faith to among other things.

Hmmm... also, I saw a really attractive guy tonight. He actually looked a lot like what I envision one of my characters to look like in my novel. :::sigh:::

This is what it looks like by day. There is some good history

Also, I must show this to my mother: "I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." - Rita Rudner

Friday, September 7, 2007

Just for a Moment...

I feel confident and fearless. Most of the time, I'm a ball of insecurity and a wreck. I'm thinking of making some pretty major life changes-- switching careers, having a baby, the fitness thing-- I waver from actually committing to do it and back to my comfort zone of status quo of not doing a thing different.

Problem is my status quo right now isn't a very happy place to be. A job change would be great. I could fuel my passion for words, a baby would bring worlds of joy and excitement to my life, also some stress and drama, but all good and of course fitness, that's just a given and a necessity. But it's so easy to stay in the comfort zone... even though I don't want to. I know the answer. It requires a change of thinking, a way of life and a way of making a living.

I haven't been sleeping. I think I'm drinking too much black tea at night, so the caffeine keeps me awake, but I have so many thoughts drifting through my head that I think that is what is keeping me awake. I wonder if other writers write in their minds like I do? Sometimes, it drives me crazy, but since I was a kid I've always been making up stories, most of them manage to make their way to paper/computer, but it's always an ongoing process.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fall has arrived... so let's burn him already...

Live Stream of Santa Fe's Annual Pagan Festival. Hee.

I didn't want to go with 18k of my nearest and dearest to the park this year to watch the burning of Zozobra. I do like to go from time to time, but it might have been a good time to go, as I'm a bit doomy and gloomy. Blech.

Here's the history of the old man gloom.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Quiet Reflections...

My favorite time of year is swiftly approaching. I love the fall. I love how the light bends and casts a g0lden hue over the earth. I love crisp, cool days, where it's chilly enough for a light sweater but warm enough to drink an iced venti chai outside on the patio at Starbucks. Today, we had a rain shower and even in my high off the ground 4Runner, I needed an ark. It's such a shame that all that rain that falls pretty much washes away. Eventually it makes it to the arroyo but I don't think much of that water gets recaptured, which is truly a shame.

So... I thought this was going to be my spiritual, mostly Catholic Blog, but I may transition over my personal, more quiet reflections from LJ over to here. I suppose if I put it as catholic with a little "c" it could be my "universal" blog. Hee!

The excitement of the whole world of fangirl blogging and fandom is waning for me. It's been about 11 years I've been a fangirl. It's hard to believe that probably 11 or 12 years ago I first got on the Internet, discovered the world of Alt.TV.Highlander was my hangout for many years. I met some fabulous people because of that TV show. I dragged my best friend into the fandom and we made many good friends. Some I still talk to just about everyday. Who says the Internet is bad?

Internet dating. So not going to happen for me.

Speaking of Highlander. The 4th movie, probably the worst of the bunch, but it has my boys in it, will air this month. So... I don't forget it comes on SciFi channel Sept. 15. I need to turn my DISH back on. I've had it off most of the summer. Yikes.

On Monday, I have to sit down and redo my resume and cover letter. I'm going to apply for a job with, believe it or not a regular salary. Part of me wants to stay in real estate very badly, I love the flexibility the profession gives me, but I want to have a child one day and I would like to have the stability of a regular pay check, plus benefits and health insurance. Being a grown up is so hard, but being a grown up and thinking about having a totally helpless, totally dependent child is overwhelming and exciting at the same time.

So, I'm in the midst of making some big life-changing decisions. Oy.

When it clears up I shall head out and take my walk. I'm going to do a fitness challenge from Self Magazine. It's five days of exercise. Three walking two strength training. By the end of the first month, I should be back in the habit of exercise. I'm not looking to drop much weight the first month but maybe I'll start feeling fit and strong again. That is what I really want to achieve. Sure weight loss is another goal but I don't want to do this to lose weight as much as get fit. I think they both go hand in hand, however, I'm not aiming to be a skinny mini. I'll never be that. I'm naturally too athletic for that. I'm tall and not little boned. I build muscle pretty fast.

Remind me... heh... to ask the doctor to measure my height when I go in for a check up near the end of the year. I really believe I'm 5'7" but sometimes I think I'm taller.

Anyway, this challenge has four goals. I'm going to try to tackle them, a different one each month so by the end of December, I hope my body is ready for the next step.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finding One's Self

The landscape of Northern New Mexico is truly amazing. It makes sense that so many people are able to find spirituality here every day. There are days when I just go for a drive, look at the awesome land surrounding me and truly feel connected to my own spirituality. It's usually a little thing, a rainstorm, a sunset, the view coming in along I-25 on a beautiful cloudy or clear day for what it's worth that reminds me that there is something bigger than ourselves. There has to be. I truly believe that God exists. I think that there are many paths to find Him. For me, it's my Catholicism, but for someone else, it might be something different.

I stumbled upon this article on PBS.
I watched the video as well. The text is the transcription actually and thought I'd post it. It's interesting but I think barely touches the subject of spirituality in New Mexico, which goes back to days long before the Spanish came, bringing both Catholicism and crypto-Judaism to this land.

I've also been following the news from Paris about the death of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris. Today was his funeral and before the Funeral Mass, his relatives said Kaddish for him in front of Notre Dame. It's been interesting to read all the news about his personal life and how despite his conversion to Catholicism, he still felt very tied to his Jewish past. Albeit, his was recent, as he was born to Polish Jews and converted to Catholicism as a young boy.

I suppose part of me is so intrigued is because here in Northern New Mexico, there are so many families who are descended from Sephardic Jews and are now discovering it. While they have pretty much been raised as Catholics for generations, (though some probably with no religion and others as protestants) but suddenly this knowledge makes things about their lives so much clearer. As for me, I don't really know if my ancestors were Jewish. I have last names dotting the family tree which are very obviously Sephardic, but I don't know of any rituals or traditions that are suspected to be Sephardic. The sad thing for me is that the ones who would know are long gone and my parents don't seem to remember any of those stories. And even if I learned my ancestors were Sephardic Jews fleeing persecution, it wouldn't change my faith today. I would, however, be able to say I was tied to a Jewish past too, but I wouldn't be a Jew. Still, it's all very interesting. Hopefully, I'll find that out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

OMG! All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash!!!

See... it's made the news.

LJ Is Down...

Is there a massive paranoia? Do I dare check my friend's pages on the other journals I set up in case there was
  • a: LJ outage or
  • b: a mass exodus from LJ?
Nah. I'm going to stay right here-- well and there-- since it's where I pursue my fannish, superfluous and totally pursuits of pure and total nonsense.

I also decided that this journal is shaping up to be my Catholic journal what ever that means and is. We had a visiting priest for Sunday's Mass. It turns out he is from here, someone who graduated the year ahead of me and is sort of in transition. He's a Jesuit and was really a pleasure to listen to on Sunday. I really like our parish priest as well so I was a bit disappointed that he wasn't there but it was all good in the end. Anyway, I think Father had obviously peeked inside of my brain for the Homily. Mostly the moral of the Homily was about priorities, knowing and doing what is important and right.

I know I get very impatient and frustrated with my folks. It's not so hard to drop what I'm doing to help them, but it's just that sometimes I far too selfish and too lazy to go do what they need, rather than busy. In the long run, they appreciate the time and effort and I usually end up enjoying my visit or errand on their behalf. It's not like my life is so busy that I can't go over there. We get stuck in the rut and hate to be inconvenienced.

So, yes, parents are a prioroity right now. My own health is too. I have to work out and eat healthy. It's really the former not the later. I'm not a horrible eater, I don't over eat but sometimes I eat the wrong stuff. I just am not the sort of person with a metabolism of a humming bird or a bumble bee. I need to exercise. It's beneficial to the mind, body and soul. I need it, especially if I really am considering having a child one day. Being a mom is truly the one thing I've always pictured in my life. I don't know if I'll feel empty and incomplete if it never happens for me, however, right now I think it's probably one of the worst possible things that might happen. I suppose if it doesn't happen, then I'll deal with it as best I can.I think the statement if it's meant to be, it's meant to be has some truth to it, but I also believe if you want something badly enough, you have to coax it into being a bit.

And lastly, my finances and my career is a big priority. I want to be a successful published writer and I'm struggling to get something, anything finished. Oy... I really do want to have a successful real estate career. Part of why I'm floundering is not the market so much but the lack of motivation and self-discipline. If I have a child... I have to have money. There is no way I can support a child without it.

Life, it's always an adventure.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Just Wondering...

You know... I discovered when I started reading Catholic sites and forums that there are a lot of Conservative Catholics on the Internet. I really shouldn't be using Conservative as a descriptor, but it seems to be the most common term in use. I'm not trying to use it like in the political sense, but in some ways they seem to go hand in hand. Perhaps, I just haven't figured it out yet.

Maybe they're just really fervent? Incredibly orthodox? Traditional. There are definitely those out there, (SSPX, the Mel Gibson type Catholics, etc.) Then there are the liberal Catholic churches who are also break aways from Rome. We have one here.

What am I? Maybe a little bit of both.

I like Tradition. I like ritual. I like the New Mass. I don't mind altar girls, but I don't want to see women ordained. I think Latin Rite Catholic priests should remain celibate, but I like the involvement of married, permanent deacons and don't have a problem with the pastoral privilege for priests coming from the Lutheran or Episcopal churches. I think there's room for the Tridentine Mass and the New Mass. For the record, I don't like clown masses for little kids, puppet masses, sappy music either.

I hate to see qualified men, who have a genuine call and vocation to the priesthood, who might be gay, driven out of seminaries because they aren't straight. Why would God have called them, if He didn't want them? I like seeing nuns and sisters and other religious wear habits, but do I think any less of them for not wearing them? No. Some orders don't have habits anymore or never did. It doesn't make them any less holy.

I really can't put a label on the kind of Catholic that I am. So do labels matter? Shouldn't those of us who are Catholic just be Catholic?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I was going to post this...

And instead I went off on a mini-rant of my own.

I love reading the lives of the saints. Their lives and stories engage me. I can't fathom leading the lives that they lead. And what astounds me most is that they (with the exception of Angels, etc) were living, breathing people.

Aside from my patron saint of any representation of Mary, the mother of God or the many other St. Mary's that exist. St. Felicity is my other patron saint. I stumbled on this today on the Internets! I'd read the story recently, but I thought I'd save it somewhere, where I could find it quickly again.

St. Felicity and her Seven Sons:

Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century. After her husband's death, she served God by prayer and works of charity. Her good example led others to become Christians, too. This angered the pagan priests, who complained to Antoninus Pius, the emperor. They said Felicity was an enemy of the state because she was making the gods angry. So the emperor ordered Felicity arrested. Seven young men were arrested with her. It is believed that they were her sons. Like the mother of the Maccabees in the Old Testament, Felicity remained calm. The governor tried in vain to make her sacrifice to the gods. He ended with the words, "Unhappy woman, if you wish to die, die! But do not destroy your sons." "My sons will live forever if, like me, they scorn the idols and die for their God," Felicity answered. This brave woman was forced to watch her sons being put to death. One was whipped, two were beaten with clubs, three beheaded and another drowned. Four months later, Felicity, too, was beheaded. Her strength came from her great hope that she would be with God and her sons in heaven. St. Felicity, it could be said, was martyred eight different times. This is because she had to watch each of her sons die. Then she too gave up her life for Jesus. Today we pray for people who watch their loved-ones suffer physically or emotionally. May they feel the Risen Christ in their suffering.

I also noticed her patronage is to Mothers who’ve lost children.

These are the contents of my head...

I think this blog is shaping up to be the place where I talk about Catholic stuff as well as my real life. I think I'm on the verge of going back to the Church on a regular basis, not just on Holidays, weddings, and funerals. The only problem I have is on the little corner of the world that's the Internet. On blogs, forums, websites, I see so much disdain for liberal Catholics from fellow Catholics. I can't even contemplate all the anti-catholic crap I've encountered out there, but it's there too. I just hate to see all the disdain coming from one Catholic about another. I am a bleeding heart liberal in whole sense of the world. I keep my feelings about religion and politics separate. I don't take religion into the voting booth, nor do I take politics into the church. However, I support those liberal causes many of my fellow Catholics deem unacceptable and today I read a commentary on forums and other places on the Internet that liberal Catholics should just leave the church because they can't accept all and everything the church teaches. I've seen it before and I could find links, but there's no point... I'm sure one good google search will find posts in the same vein.

Nonetheless, it pisses me off because I never once grew up to hear that message. I really hope that these messages are from a very small and vocal minority. These are many of the folks who are excited about the Latin Mass returning with fewer restrictions, which is fine with me, I think there is plenty of room for TLM and the Novus Ordo. I grew up post Vatican II. I've never attended Mass in Latin. I'm sure it's a very beautiful thing and I don't think that the Pope is trying to take the church back in time, but I don't anticipate attending TLM, with the exception of checking it out every now and then. I think easing restrictions on its use is probably a good thing. I do think many people from my parents' generation, many from the baby boomers and even my fellow GenXers' are looking forward to attending TLM. I am not a traditionalist--as I said-- I'm a liberal and I find that the New Mass, which is said here, is quite lovely. I think it's done with reverence and respect. Most of our hymns are in Spanish, so we don't usually get all the touchy-feely stuff the conservatives seem to complain about. I've read the hymnal, I don't disagree at all with them on that one.

I guess the more I think about coming back to the faith, something invariably drives me away.

I think I need to stay off the Internets!

I don't want to be another religion because for me Catholicism runs deep. It is both spiritual and cultural and I can't separate the two. As frustrating as it is sometimes, I find myself at church knowing it's where I belong, it's what I believe and feel and it doesn't matter that I'm a liberal. Sunday at Mass was a baptism and it was lovely to see and hear all those babies. I kept thinking, and now I'm praying for the day, that I will be up there with my own baby being baptized, on a glorious Sunday like it was the other day. I want to share my faith-- culturally and spiritually-- with a child of mine. I really can't wait for that day and yes, I pray for that day.

So, I know I can't go off and leave the Catholic church and become something else. No other church can be so much a part of my culture and my soul as the catholic church.

How this post went off on such a tangent, I don't know. I still didn't say the things I really wanted to say. I may one day articulate why I'm a liberal and not a conservative.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Children At Your Feet

I made it through the Novena. Nine Masses, Eight glorious Masses. I can't believe I was up at 4:30 for eight days. Yesterday, I met my friend for Mass at 6:00 and later in the day I met my other friend to watch the procession back to the Cathedral. I took pictures but they didn't come out so great. I don't like my dad's camera. I really should have taken my canon rebel, but I suspect I don't have film or batteries. (If only I had the money to buy it in a digital version. :::sigh::: )

I couldn't believe how many people were making the trek back from the chapel to the church. Carrying banners, they all walked back with their parishes or religious group. It was a hot day and it was about an half-hour trek in 4:00 heat. They were singing, smiling and walking happily back to the Cathedral Basilica. We watched them file in and of course saw many people I knew as well. Small town still. It's usually for religious functions that the local people come out.

Of course, tourists gawked and watched curiously as the procession made its way back. They asked what was going on and neither L. nor I had enough time to give them the whole history, but we did the best we could and they were pleasant and polite. (I have a huge opinions about tourists and the newcomers to my city, in general, most are respectful, courteous and pleasant, but... there are so many that I really do wish would go away. That's another post...for another day... maybe.)

There was a group of tourists, I think they were also going to go to Mass, but the daughter looked just how I imagine my mother looked at her age. She had thick, red hair, in braids, she had the same sort of skin color, (my mom tans a lovely brown) and was wearing a pretty white summer dress. I really did think of my mom.There is a picture of my mother that I thought about when I saw the girl. It makes me really wish to have a red-headed child one day.

So, after the procession, my friend left and I proceeded into the church for Mass. Everyone was there. ;-) Same with today. Today, though it was really interesting to see how the people stood in line after Mass to take a flower that had been given to "Our Lady" during the many Masses.

It's amazing the love and devotion given to this old, hand-carved statue of the Virgin Mary, which for 400 years has been part of this city. When I was 5, she was stolen. I recall hearing about it many years after the fact, but I never knew the whole story of her abduction. (Links to the story. Part One. Part Two.) After this morning's Mass, I totally understand the outrage and grief when she was taken. In 1973 this was a very small town. I think if something happened, there would still be the outpouring of grief and anger.

What I think I've discovered by doing this is the amount of faith that exists here and that there is a vast amount of faith inside of myself. I think it's always been there and today I read a post that clicked with me and I realized that no matter what, I will always be Catholic.

ETA: Pictures from a Procession in a previous year can be seen here. There is also a Fiesta Video( more like a slide show set to music) from the 2007, Fiestas. The last few shots in the video are from the Candlelight Procession to the Cross of the martyrs which I believe I posted about here.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Treasures magically found

Sometimes, I don't think I remember much about growing up Catholic. This week, I've been attending the annual Novena Mass in honor of La Conquistadora, (the oldest image of the Madonna in the US). It's an annual tradition in Santa Fe, going back centuries now. (Links to come later.) A really good friend of mine invited me to go with her. I don't think she thought I'd show up on Monday. Well, I got up way too early and picked up our mutual friend, L. and we met her at 5:45 at the little chapel where La Conqusitadora will be till Sunday. That first Mass was incredibly beautiful and uplifting. Now, I grew up Catholic. I live in Santa Fe, an old-Spanish Catholic City and I have never done this. I've known about this procession and novena all my life but for whatever reason my family never did it.

It's been a culturally rewarding and spiritually enriching thing for me. Since probably college, I've been a pretty much lapsed Catholic and now, as an adult, I'm finding myself drawn back to Catholicism for whatever reason I'm not quite sure, but so far it's been an interesting journey. Who knows where it will take me.

I've been reading blogs, websites, forums and various bits of things about Catholicism lately. I grew up in the 70's, post Vatican II, so everything to me about church was a bit more loose and relaxed, definitely all about acceptance and love, social justice and peace were the messages I learned. Good stuff, I think, however, I've found a lot of complaints on the Internet about how too loose and too liberal the church became and still is in places. I just don't feel like that is the way the church is here. Of course, things are so different in New Mexico that maybe that's why I feel a bit confuzzled by what I read these days. I certainly don't want to see it get so conservative and so closed up that I don't feel like there is a place for me there. I don't think that will happen-- at least I hope not, especially here, and I do love the ritual and traditions. I even can wrap my brain around most of everything the church teaches and I do believe there is a God. There has to be something. Yet, I'm a bleeding heart liberal and truly feel like religion and politics, church and state should remain separate. I definitely keep religion out of the voting booth with me.

Maybe I'll muse a bit in here about that later. Right now, I'm not really sure if I can articulate those thoughts yet.

Nonetheless, I think to the surprise of my friend D. I've been going to Mass everyday at 6:00 and it's been the most amazing experience. I'm exhausted today. It was the 5th day but I really enjoyed it. Every day a different pastor from a different parish has celebrated the Mass. Every day has been different and special. My friend, D. who talked me into going (this is her big Catholic thing she says) was right when she said it is a bit like being in heaven. We are sitting on the right side of the altar. On the other side of the altar, the big doors are open and as the sun rises about 6:15, the sun's rays shine through the old crooked and stately Evergreen trees into the chapel, lighting up the altar with golden morning light. It's a beautiful sight. It makes getting up in the dark worthwhile just to see that in the morning. Sadly, I don't know what I'll do after Sunday.

Today, there were trumpets and it was more "Spanish" than the other days so far, because much of the Mass was in Spanish. (I wish I could remember the "Our Father" in Spanish. I still wish I could speak Spanish period.) There was beautiful. music, lots of singing in Spanish and lots of rejoicing. Tuesday, there was an Indian blessing. She, La Conquistadora, I mean, was dressed in Native American clothes. (I wonder if she has as many outfits as the Infant of Prague?) Monday there was levity and banter and it was so festive. So far, no dry or mundane church hymns. Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I'll finish out the Novena and watch part the procession back to the Cathedral on Sunday. Right now I need a nap.

(Photo Taken by Herman Lovato, copied from the 2007 Novena Pictures at the Santa Fe Fiesta Council Web Site.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I can smell the cedar burning as I type this...

It's warm and really, really windy today, sort of a typical day for early spring in NM, not late spring. So, instead of lamenting the nasty weather, I am thinking about Christmas. Ok. Not really, as I was doing some research on the Internet for my story and after a few clicks, I found this picture . It's of my family home at Christmas time. Apparently some one took a picture of it at Christmas Time and put it on her blog. It turns out she's a Realtor from Denver. That's the house where I lived till I was 5, then we moved to edge of town, which now is somewhat "in town" as Santa Fe has grown. My family still owns the house, as it's been in my mom's family probably since the late 1700's. (I have an abstract on the property but I can't recall the first date on it.)

For a long time there was a post card of one of the doors to the house. We had a tenant who painted the glass window -- with an opaque lace pattern-- it was beautiful, but I haven't seen the photograph in years and I think I've lost the only copy I had. The glass broke and it's just a clear pane there now so it's not as impressive. It's not easy googling turquoise doors in Santa Fe to find. Ok. I lied. Here it is--- it's a newer image. Sigh. I've done that search many times before and always strike out.

I really need a good camera. I miss taking pictures and there are certainly lots of photo ops here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Polish "Anne Frank's" Diary Revealed

I read the news on the Internet more than I watch the TV news or read the newspaper. I suppose I should start reading the paper a bit more these days because I am trying to go back to newspaper reporting as a career.

This news story touched me and brought a tear to my eye. It's about a young Polish-Jewish girl who kept a diary about her experiences for a short time while living in a Jewish Ghetto in Poland during the war. She was only 14. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her. She gave it to her friend to hold when she realized that she might not survive. And now after over 60 years, the friend has come forth and presented it to the Holocaust museum in Israel. What touched me was reading the comment from the girl's youngest sister, who never knew the story of her father before he came to Israel after the war.

It's hard for me to fathom that kind of world but I don't know why since persecution of people based on religious beliefs, race and sexuality and gender continue to this day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I'm not quite sure why I linked to this Ask Sister Mary Martha: post about The Infant of Prague but, I do have a new fondness for the Infant of Prague. I think in many ways it's not so unlike our devotion to La Conquistadora. (See links on sidebar for more info.) I like that it has origins in Spain and made its way to Bohemia as a wedding gift for the young princess, who was Spanish but married into a Bohemian (Czech) family. So, maybe for some reason that's what I find so fascinating. Devotions have long been a tradition of the Catholic faith and still continue today. It is not worship. I think it's comforting that as well as praying to God directly, we can also ask the saints, and those others in heaven to offer prayers for us. It's comforting to know that we can turn to the saints and petition for their intercession on our behalf.

(image from wikipedia)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Since I'm in a writing mood.

Random Shakespearean Insult of the day:
Thou puny ill-breeding knave!

Yes, it's another horrorscope.

You may be tempted to hide something of value today in order to make sure you have enough for another day. You could be saving money, but you might also be unwilling to commit too much time and energy toward a particular project. There's more to this than your fear of scarcity; it's likely that you just aren't ready for the next step. Don't let anyone talk you into something that brings up feelings of uncertainty.

That one is true. I have a deal I need to work on, but I'm having a hard time putting it together. It would mean a nice little paycheck, one I can use right about now, since this economy sucks. Next week I'm going to put together some query letters and see if I can get back into some free-lance writing. I certainly could use some extra money and my brain could use some challenge. I'm just very nervous to approach editors and publications, especially since I have no fresh ideas. What I need it to find a gig where I can be assured so much work at a time that's enough to keep me busy.

I have pretty teriffic friends. On Thrusday I was treated to an early birthday lunch. L. gave me seeds for the garden to plant and K. gave me some books. One's a writers market for short stories and novels, and the other is The Writers Block. It's fabulously cool and I will use it.

I really appreciate all my friends. B. and I are taking the dogs tomorrow for a walk and we'll catch up on life then. Growing up and in college I had friends. I'm not sad that I've left most of those friendships behind. I don't think they were truly meant to be my friends forever. I see a few of the girls I went to college with from time to time and I enjoy them thoroughly. I know I should make a bigger effort to see them more often. They're fun. Then there's C. my best friend. I don't really know what's going on between us. I don't know if we're losing our friendship or if we're both in our own little worlds and are just changing. I should make another attempt at a phone call. Hopefully she'll call back. Our birthdays are next weekend, I truly hope it's just real life getting in the way.

(Since this is my seekrit blog she probably won't see this post.)

Back to what's going on today, if the phone will stop ringing, perhaps I'll get some writing done. As I told L. just a little while ago, I'm glad I'm popular today, but I wish it was someone calling about real estate. That phone doesn't ring much these days. I've had Saturdays when my phone doesn't ring and I'm not doing anything fun, productive or exciting... today since I've taken the day to write, everyone wants me. Too bad it's not the fabulous guy I have a crush on.

It's getting cold now and I'm not going to take the dogs for a walk. I may just start heading to the gym to get my walking done. As it is, I keep the house locked up tight. I've never thought of myself to be paranoid but I'm seriously on edge right now. Damn news.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Today's Horroscope....

Nothing is quite as impossible as it seems, for you may feel a bit more pessimistic than usual. The emotions that are holding you back, however, can also contain the seeds for your forward movement. Don't accept defeat under any circumstances, even if your confidence is weak. Remember, today's actions set the stage for next week's transformations.

Ah, what can that be?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Life in My Head

So... today, I finally figured out my character names and finished up most of my family tree for my novel universe. I'm still trying to get unstuck but I think I need to leave things alone for a while and work on something else while the scenarios work themselves out.

I got three hours of sleep and finally feel better. So, after Law and Order SVU, I think I'm heading off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow I can make it to the gym. I plan on going to MLS and then my office.


Ok... I've settled on pink as my template for this blog. I've learned to embrace the pink in my life, whatever that means.

So, this is my secret, quiet place. I don't expect any excitement around here. I started this blog because I've been reading a lot of other blogs on the blogosphere (not on LJ) and I decided to get my own so that I could comment or say hello in the event that I wanted to. Most of what I'm reading 'round here are news related or Catholic related. I'm not sure I'm going to through whole reversion process because yes... I have issues, but I've gone to Mass quite a few times since Easter and it's actually been a good experience. I'm actually a bit frightened by what some of my so-called issues are really non-issues. Though, sometimes, I wonder if there is a way to be socially and politically progressive and go back fully to a faith that seems to be changing so much, to be more akin to the conservative Christians, whose philosophies frighten me a bit. I truly think that politics and religion need to stay separate. I hate how the two have merged so much in this country. I think one can practice religion (or not) and have a social and political life, that doesn't involve one's faith. I think one should. Call me naive or irrational, but I believe it's possible.

Maybe I'm not thinking clearly as it is two am and I can't sleep or maybe I'm just thinking rationally and know that I will always have issues and that's that. Perhaps I'll work through them.

I don't know where this all started. If it was something I was thinking about before I started my new novel or if it was something that came up as a result of it. Why did I ever give "Isabel" a twin brother who was a priest? I can't tell you the difficulty that has arisen just because of that. Not that it's a bad thing. It works for the character and I think I've created the right motivations and circumstances for him to chose his vocation. I want him to reflect a real person, just as I do Isabel-- and her issues. I think it's perfectly possible for two people to grow up in the same household and become two very different people. (I'm an only child, so maybe I'm wrong.) But I think her issues with her brother's choices for his life are very valid and very real. As the story develops, I see her growing and coming to accept and understand him for who he is, and I think he'll always accept her and love her sins and all.

It's funny how a short story that was supposed to help me heal a broken heart has changed into something so much more. I've practically dropped the initial plot point. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out where to fit it into the story now that story has changed so much since I started. I don't think there's room for that little scenario in the grand scheme of the story. I've already written a sequel to this novel-- though it's really the prequel--- but it has to be read afterward, as it ruins the big surprise in Isabel's story.
And that really came out of the fucking air. I couldn't believe it when I wrote that scene. It went from sappy chick lit to angsty drama in one quick sentence.

I've also created a whole universe based upon the characters (the female characters) in these three stories. Wouldn't it be cool to write four different stories based on these women? (Four sisters, their daughters, and their experiences.) My own version of Little Women. Heh.

I'm sort of in a weird place tonight and cannot sleep. I have a feeling I'll be dragging all day long tomorrow/today. I'm used to getting to bed at 2:00 these days. I've been writing or reading what I've written and so I'm not just sitting up doing nothing these late nights.

I have to admit that my stories are taking on a life of their own. I don't know if I can contain my characters. I should really try to sleep as I have to be up in 5 hours.

So far tonight I've tried the sleep thing twice, once at midnight and once at 1:43. Both times, while tired, I laid there unable to shut my mind down. 1. I have PMS. 2. I remembered something and it made me sad. 3. I have other stress, both rational and irrational stress going on right now. 4. I'm out of Sync with my sleeping habits. 2 is my bedtime these days. As I've been writing or editing, I've lost track of time. I don't have a lot of business right now and so I'm spending more and more time writing.

I think I'll take one of the dog's Benedryl tablets (Yes, they get the Benedryl for their allergies while I'll take Claritin) and hope it makes me drowsy. Maybe I'll function at a reasonably decent speed tomorrow.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Like I need another blog...

Well, I have one now. I'm thinking perhaps this might be my quiet place in the blogosphere.

It will probably serve just to entertain me and my mindless ramblings.

If someone finds me and wants to read, that's cool by me. Feel free to say hi.