If you know anyone at Mt. Angel Abbey or Seminary up in Oregon, you may want to tell them to start preparing themselves now. Because the Fulwilers are going back to Mt. Angel in November, and this time we’re bringing the kids. I’m not sure how, exactly, to advise them to get ready for this. Prayer, certainly. But investing in some noise-cancellation headphones, a carton of Magic Erasers, and a few extra fire extinguishers couldn’t hurt either.
I am counting on being able to get there through some kind of teleportation device, so I need the science community to step up their game and get one ready for public use within the next 15 weeks or so, because there is no way that I can fly across the country with a bunch of little kids. We did book all the airline tickets last night (with much help from generous grandparents who had extra air miles), but that’s just a fallback on the off-off chance that we can’t beam ourselves there. In fact, I’m willing to discuss the range and safety of a large catapult as an option. Anything but flying in an airplane for five hours with overtired kids.
Of course I’m excited to take in the beautiful scenery, hang out with the amazing people, and drink their wine, but the main purpose of the trip is to visit my cousin, Brother Claude Lane. There’s a very cool story there, which I’ll repeat for those of you who aren’t familiar with it:
A few weeks before Joe and I came into communion with the Church, a relative from my dad’s side emailed me to ask if I knew that we were both related to another Catholic. This was shocking to me, since that particular branch of my family tree is so deeply Protestant that I always kind of pictured that every single ancestor on that side of family happened to be in Wittenberg, Germany in October 1517, and hadn’t been Catholic since they all collectively walked up to see what those papers were on the door of the All Saints’ church. I figured that my relative must be referring to someone who had converted for a spouse but didn’t really practice the Faith…so I was just a liiiiiiittle bit surprised when she elaborated to say that we were related to a Benedictine monk. I was further amazed to find out that he’s an iconographer, and had written the icon for the cover of the Bible that I had just bought.
In the following years we’ve become quite close to Br. Claude, who is the son of my grandmother’s cousin (or something like that; I usually just say we’re “second cousins once removed” as a shorthand for “it’s complicated”). It’s so great to be able to take a trip to one of the most beautiful monasteries in America and get to hang out with my long-lost cousin as well!
Joe is going to the Texas Thunder demolition derby this weekend. I feel like this puts him in a rather unique demographic, in that he spends his days listening to Teaching Company CDs about Minoan art and the history of Western philosophy, and spends his evenings at demolition derbies (complete with emails to his friends with the subject: Texas Thunder! Texas Thunder!! TEXAS THUNDER!!!!!!) (That subject line was copied and pasted verbatim.) He’s also a big cricket fan. Wouldn’t that be crazy if he happened to run into another cricket fan at the demo derby? I mean, if he saw some guy wearing a Durham CCC Dynamos jersey, he’d pretty much just have to walk up to that dude and say, “Hey man, let’s be best friends forever.”
All my life, I walked around believing that there was not a single sport that I could ever be compelled to play. All of the major competitive sports were out for obvious reasons, since the idea of running around outside and keeping track of some ball while simultaneously interacting with people made me need to retire to my fainting couch just to contemplate it. But even indoor activities like bowling or pool didn’t do it for me either, for reasons I never quite identified. And then I discovered darts, and a whole new world has opened up.
Finally, I have found my calling in life. For a brief period I was messing around with this writing stuff, but now I understand that God’s true plan for me involves dominating dartboards. All my life I have been waiting for a sport that you can win while standing still, and now I have found it. The sport has kindled within me a competitive streak I didn’t even know I had, and I’ve gotten fairly good at the game in an alarmingly short time period. I keep saying that I’m going to become a darts hustler as a side income: When I travel for speaking, I’ll go to the nearest pub and announce that I’m just a humble Catholic lady blogger here from out of town who just got back from a mommies’ prayer group, and was wonderful if the nice folks here would be up for a game of darts. My husband’s role will be to “spontaneously” suggest that we put some money on it to make it interesting, and, long story short, I’ll clean house.
Anyway, all this is to say, don’t be surprised if my LinkedIn profile suddenly changes to, Jennifer Fulwiler: DARTS SHARK.
We’re having a priest over for dinner for the first time ever! Fr. Michael Sullivan will be coming over next week, which is super exciting since I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. He occasionally visits our parish, and I was so blown away by his insightful and eloquent homilies that I went out of my way to get his name so I could know who this amazing priest was (I mentioned him in a post here). As someone who has the anti-charism of cooking, it makes me mildly nervous to be providing a meal for him, but my husband has made me promise that I won’t cook anything off of Pinterest so it should be fine.
This past Lent I tried to give up putting my usual tablespoon of sugar in my morning coffee, and it proved to be a great trial. I would loudly tell Joe or whoever else was around to please write this down for my cause for canonization as I gritted my teeth and whispered, “All for you, Lord!” before I suffered through one sip after another of coffee that was not prepared exactly how I like it.
I need to file this article away to read before next Lent: It’s Ramadan right now, and it’s been getting up to 122° F in some places in the Middle East. This means that a lot of Muslims are going all day without eating or drinking anything. In 120° heat. Wow.
Those of you who were around at midnight may have noticed that my own quick takes were up a bit late tonight. That’s because Joe and I got sidetracked watching videos from some best of Youtube podcast he subscribes to, which includes Frankenkitty, as well as this I-N-S-A-N-E underwater fishing video (check out the footage at 1:20):