Friday, January 31, 2014

Prayers for Poachers

The last couple of days I have been thinking about poaching a lot. It seems like a very simple thing: poaching is bad. Then I think of my ancestors during the Ice Age who were starving, and I realize they didn’t have the luxury of sparing wooly mammoths to make sure there were enough to continue a population; they just needed to eat. It’s easy to criticize them from my well-fed vantage point. Sure, I’d love to see a wooly mammoth, but how much would they have loved to eat a Big Mac? Some poaching really is like that, and people engage in it just to survive. Can I judge them for that? A lot of poaching, however, is about greed and not survival. We can probably all agree that this is a brutal practice, killing rare animals for a single body part, but the people engaging in this practice are still humans with immortal souls, so we should pray for them. They often murder other humans too, so their souls are in real danger of damnation.

I like hypothetical situations, so here is one for you: imagine you are the spirit of an animal just killed by a poacher. You realize the poacher did not kill you out of necessity, so he seems very evil to you. Then you follow him to a poaching operation headquarters, where he gets into an argument over money with the head of the operation. Imagine he kills the other man. You, as the animal’s spirit, might sympathize with the killed man and hate the killer, because he killed you too. However, the killed man is also guilty because he created the operation that drew in the poacher. Both men would need prayers for their souls. Now consider that this is probably not a hypothetical situation but something that happens all the time, and you can see how prayers are desperately needed. (The animal’s perspective, that’s a long story, but many of my readers understand.) Greed is a deadly sin that can lead to destruction of God’s beautiful creation and even the murder of another human being. We should pray that the hearts of all poachers would be turned back to God, and that He would have mercy on the souls of the poachers who have already died. So as you are thinking of prayer intentions, I’d ask you to consider this one at least once a month. Thanks!

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mr. Icon's Life on Kodiak Island

This past Sunday night, Richard Bonomo had a sort of birthday dinner for Mr. Icon. Kathbert, Mr. Luxuli, El Vegetariano, and some people I didn’t know were also there. You know how Mr. Icon has always looked like he stepped out of an icon? Now he lives in Kodiak, Alaska, and with his striped sweater and knit cap (or as the Canadians say, toque), he looked just like he had stepped off of an Alaskan fishing boat. He told us right now it’s a lot warmer in Kodiak, which doesn’t surprise me – recently, it was warmer at the South Pole than here, so why not in Alaska? Apparently Kodiak never gets that cold. Mr. Icon loves it there; he is working for some combination of Baptist missionaries and the Russian Orthodox Church, or maybe Bulgarians. It’s always a little hard to keep his life straight. He says in Alaska every “real” man has a beard (which he does), a pickup truck (which he doesn’t), and what they call a “dawg.” These are enormous creatures that are part husky, part malamute, and part golden retriever. (How’s that for random?) Nobody owns little dogs like Rodney on Kodiak – they would probably get eaten by wolves, or by the “dawgs” that the “real” men own. There are a lot more men than women up in Alaska, or as my OTHER choir director noted, “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” Just something to keep in mind, single ladies reading this blog. 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Last Night's Torture Session

Last night Richard Bonomo and I again went to work out. First we do exercises on the floor mat, like stomach crunches and pushups. Maybe I am improving, because I can do a few more pushups than the last time he tortured me this way. The next thing we use is something he calls a “Roman chair” for stretching our backs. Luxuli thought it looked like a very difficult exercise when she saw it, but then she tried it and found it quite easy. Last night there was a new torture device next to the Roman chair that Rich and I inspected with some interest, but we weren’t quite sure what it was for. Then a guy came along and used it to hang head down and do sit ups that way. Eek! Everyone at the gym last night looked really good; I was the only plump, flabby person. This was sort of embarrassing, but on the other hand it gives me hope that if I hang out at the gym, I too will be fit. Maybe they were all plump, flabby people themselves until they started hanging out there. Or do other people like me just get too embarrassed to keep going?

After the pull-up machine (it helps you do pull-ups if you are out of shape like I am) and all the other various weight machine/torture devices, we went on the ellipticals to limber up. Then we went to Jerkins, where they have expanded their healthy menu, much to our surprise. No worries, there are still plenty of deep-fried naughty things on the menu, but you can actually find all kinds of high-protein, low-carb meals there now, and loads of vegetables. (As my readers know, I am something of a broccoli addict.) I got TWO doses of broccoli yesterday, so life is good. Today I am feeling surprisingly good, but I have taken several doses of ibuprofen so that may explain my lack of pain. Yesterday it totally felt like my arms were going to fall right off my body.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Marriage Prep Class #2

Last night Travalon and I went to our second marriage preparation class, this one on family planning. At our age I doubt we can have a ton of kids, so we don’t really need it for the spacing aspect. However, it could be helpful for actually having a child, since it helps pinpoint exactly when your fertile times are. I was concerned from some of the things the instructor said that I may have low progesterone levels, but when I asked her about natural supplements, she demurred and said she isn’t a doctor. Luxuli told me golden seal helps, and Mamastep’s friend Famous told me raw carrots and apricots help, but whether that is with progesterone specifically or just fertility in general, I do not know. This class was just an introductory one; to really use the method, you have to meet with the instructor a bunch of times, but we don’t have time before the wedding, so maybe afterwards we’ll look into this more.

Then Travalon and I went to Old Chicago for some dinner, and the waitress gave us free samples of beer. One was called Chocolate Milkshake, and it really did taste like that. We made it an early night because he wanted to get home before the -50 F winds began. The last two days, people have been staying home from work because of the cold, but I have been coming in. I have to save my vacation time for the honeymoon, after all. Tonight my adoration hour was canceled because they closed our “perpetual” adoration chapel due to the cold, so I will probably do laundry and then work out with Richard Bonomo. No swimming, though – it’s too cold to go outside with wet hair.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 27, 2014

Marriage Prep Class #1

Friday night Travalon came up and stayed at Rich’s house, since we had to attend a class Saturday morning at 8:30 all the way in Fort Atkinson. We wanted to go to the Avenue Bar for fish fry, but they were crazy busy with an hour wait, so we went to the East Side Club. To our surprise, they now have Crandall’s catering there instead of DeBroux, so we happily got their baked haddock with a parmesan crust. So good! We had to make it an early evening because of the cruel hour of the class the next morning, but we had time to check out the Igloo Bar in the lower level of the East Side Club, which has some delicious drinks. There was one called the Frostbite that was kind of like a grasshopper without ice cream, and a shot called the Gingerbread Man really did taste like a cookie. It had Bailey’s, Goldschlager, and I’ve forgotten the third ingredient. Guess you’ll just have to go there yourself if you want to find it out.

On Saturday, Travalon and I took a required class for getting married in the Catholic Church, “God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage.” We were the oldest ones in the room, other than the instructor and the priest, and every time the instructor said, “You young people,” I was tempted to say, “What are we, chopped liver?” The class consisted of watching video segments and following along in a workbook, then taking some time to write answers to essay questions. We shared the answers with each other and found this part of the class to be most useful. The video was kind of boring, and we entertained each other by doodling in our workbooks. We were probably the worst-behaved couple in the class, the “back of the bus kids,” despite our advanced age. I’ll say this for it, though – it was a good bonding activity. Nothing like being bored together to bring people closer.

After the class we drove back to Madtown and stopped at the East Side Club’s Igloo Bar for a celebratory drink: “We survived our class! One down, two to go!” (The second one is tonight, supposedly not canceled due to cold – even if everything else is – and is only an hour and a half.) Then we stopped into the Chocolaterian for Parisian style hot chocolate and other goodies, and then we went to dinner with Rich at El Pastor. After Travalon headed home, Rich invited me over for a cup of tea, so I showed him the doodles in my workbook. He sent me home early so I could get up for Mass the next day. Which I did. 

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