— 1 —
It’s been a strange Lent. I keep feeling tempted to say it’s been “bad” or an “EPIC FAIL” because I haven’t experienced the spiritual growth that I have in other years; I don’t feel like my relationship with God is a whole lot better than it was on Ash Wednesday (though, on the plus side, I don’t think it’s worse). I’ve been trying to remind myself that just because the Lord didn’t hand me any incredible insights or thunder-and-lightning experiences doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. The spiritual life has plenty of plateau periods that are, well, not all that exciting. And that’s okay. Maybe I’ve even grown a little bit spiritually that I can recognize and accept that.
— 2 —
I mentioned last week that I recently switched all my email to web-based Gmail. I was hesitant to make the move since I was pretty attached to Outlook, but so far I love it. The keyboard shortcuts save a surprising amount of time when going through a lot of emails, and it’s nice not to have to worry about backups. In fact, now that I’m using Google Docs and Evernote (which also has an automatic online sync), worrying about backing up data is becoming a thing of the past for me. Interesting to see how technology is evolving.
— 3 —
IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Do not take advice from Snoop Dogg. I know what you’re thinking: If we can’t trust the Doggfather, whom can we trust? I hate to break it to you, but he may not always lead you in the right direction. Case in point:
A couple weeks ago we were at a convenience store and my husband spotted something when we walked by the malt liquor section. [Please imagine some darkly ominous music playing as I tell you the following]: “Hey, this is the stuff from that Wall Street Journal article! Snoop Dogg says it’s great. I think I’ll try it,” he said as he grabbed a brightly-colored can of a beverage called Tilt. When he cracked it open a few hours later, he was a bit startled by its neon fuchsia appearance, but took some tentative sips. He said it had the taste of berry-favored chemicals with notes of wheat germ and Everclear. Sure, his survival instinct may have been screaming PUT IT DOWN NOW BEFORE IT MELTS YOUR TEETH, but he kept an open mind and took a few more sips.
The can was only half way finished when the nausea started. He immediately poured the rest out, but it was too late. Epic queasiness was now joined by dizziness and jitters. We started Googling around — alas, something we should have done hours earlier — and found websites where people reported their Tilt horror stories, comparing the taste to that of three-day-old warm beer with a packet of Kool Aid dumped in it, and accusing it of causing everything from hallucinations to scabies. And then we got to the worst part: It is evidently an experimental new hybrid malt liquor and energy drink (because, you know, those two categories just really needed to be combined) so it’s full of caffeine. Long story short, all my husband could do for the rest of the evening was lie in bed and twitch. And occasionally burp. So if you were thinking about drinking some Tilt this weekend, don’t. I don’t care how much Snoop Dogg recommends it.
— 4 —
I have been informed that Snoop actually endorses Blast, not Tilt, which might be excellent for all I know. You can resume taking advice from Snoop Dogg until further notice.
Also, as part of my due diligence for this subject, I discovered that there is an entire genre of malt liquor review videos on Youtube. The videos, as well as the accompanying comments, lived up to all my expectations of what you would get if you combined Youtube with malt liquor.
— 5 —
When I was in Boston a couple weeks ago, I heard a priest give a wonderful talk about the importance of confession. One of the things that stood out to me was that he made a comment that priests don’t like to have time to read in the confessional, i.e. if nobody comes. He also made a couple of passing comments dispelling the idea that church attendance is mostly for women. It was very interesting to me because it revealed how different the religious climate is in Boston vs. Austin.
My parish has confession six days a week, and there’s always a long line. There are two daily Masses every weekday, and around a hundred people (sometimes more) attend each one. Our weekend Masses attract big crowds: the building capacity is 1,200 people, and it’s usually hard to find a seat at a Sunday Mass. And there are two other Catholic churches within just a few miles of us! Also, I don’t see a disproportionate number of women attending services. Church attendance and religious devotion aren’t seen as “women’s stuff” around here.
A few people have suggested that I do a follow up to the “What is the religious climate in your country?” post that focuses on the U.S. This makes me think that might be quite interesting!
— 6 —
Allow me to put on my astronomy nerd hat again and say…Is this app the coolest thing ever or what?:
— 7 —
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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