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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 is upon us...

and it's truly hard to believe! With Christmas sneaking up behind Thanksgiving, leaving behind a trail of greeting card glitter and flashing neon lights, the rapid succession of events has left me dazed with holiday overhaul. Just to let you know the updates, here are a few brief overviews of what's been happening in my life. Call it a make-up call for atrocious lack of posting over this Holy Season!

   To begin with Thanksgiving, this year was pretty rough. The night before we received a terrible shock when we learned, via phone, that the wife of our music director friend, Pat, had died. It was totally unexpected. I had just been feeling rather down recollecting the loss of our friend, Steve, who my dad learned had died the day before Thanksgiving last year. Now this felt hauntingly de ja vue. We went over and had Thanksgiving dinner with Pat and his family. The food was delicious, but it was hard to eat. Trying to stay buoyantly above the tragedy of the event was hard to bear, especially after overhearing the little granddaughter on the phone, asking over and over again for "maman." This sort of pain, I know, is the deepest kind, and will not subside for a long time. Please keep them all in your prayers.

    Then there was the story of the insufferable SmartPhone. Yes, we finally got one, in hopes of bringing all sorts of manifold blessings to our humble home such as online courses, youtube videos, job opportunities, skype conversations, and beyond. This didn't quite pan out the way we thought it would. First off, we couldn't get it to connect to the world wide web from the house. So, my eyes bright with anticipation, we starting testing it in the car. Even then, it took a while to find a place where it was comfortable enough to connect! Staggering through parking lots, trekking up grassy knolls, loitering in ladies' rooms, all in hopes of getting good service finally paid off to some extent when I was able to make contact with the mother country through skype in a tech store restroom and enjoy a conversation with friend and OU editor, Henry Hill!

   All this was well and good, but certainly not ideal or helpful in daily life in the least. Hence, our next plan of action was to sign up for a special internet/phone "deal" that resulted in us becoming victims to a tech scam which sabotaged our phone and internet connection and nearly scuttled our phone number for good! Thankfully, we were able to get everything restored after no small effort on our part. I also discovered that, during certain lucky hours, I could get internet access on the SmartPhone if I laid outstretched underneath the bedroom window on the upper floor.

    I was able to watch a few sequences from films, such as the famous yet agonizingly hoaky "Freeeeeeeeeeeedom!!!" sequence from BraveHeart, the Alice-jumps-off-a-cliff-for-no-apparent-reason scene from The Last of the Mohicans, the duel sequence from Rob Roy (Why is Rob so out of breathe? He hasn't even done anything yet!!!), and the trailer of Titanic, in which we're all supposed to fall head-over-heels for Jack, but fail to do so! The best thing I saw in this excursion was a little-known BBC docu-drama from the '60's on the Battle of Culloden. Filmed in black-and-white, it is a haunting, cut-dry depiction of the battle, and I give it two thumbs up for accuracy.

   Unfortunately, all this SmartPhone-ing laying prostrate under the window began to make me physically ill and hampered me with a bad case of vertigo which forced me to remain prostrate an hour almost every morning, and has still not completely subsided! The meds I took to cure myself only made me slightly worse, and I almost konked out observing the sparkling Christmas trees and purple ceiling light our beloved parish priest installed for Christmas Eve mass! Argh!!!

    In spite of all this, we wassailing wonders amassed for another extraordinaire production with the incomparable Madame Maureen at our nursing home. It was a nice full group this year, with enough people to put together a rounded out caroling crew in addition to our usual fiddlers, organist, and penny-whistle player (ehem......applause??? ;-). Once again, I got to pull my cavalier hat out of mothballs and lead the assembled throng in a chorus of the "Gloucestershire Wassail", and my dad and I teamed up for a duo on "I Wonder As I Wander." I also did my first-ever-lead-vocals "O Holy Night", with two younger galls to back me up. At the end, we exchanged Christmas cards and got a few nice group shots, which we await to be developed with bated breath.

    And then there was my appointment as representative for my county on behalf of the SARs (Sons of the American Revolutions)......but that's way, way too long of a story for tonight, and I promise to fill you in further on that story in a forthcoming post! Due to the many varied bunny-trails we were sent on these past few months, we haven't finished sending all our Christmas cards yet, so I must away!!!!

    Until I return from that Christmas/Epiphany Season (which lasts till Feb. 2, mind you!) mission, may you have a blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God, and a Holy New Year of 2014! That's Hogmanay to any Scottish lads and lasses skulkin' aboot ;-)

Fireworks by Edinburgh Castle
Ringing in 2014 -- Edinburgh style! 



  1. Pearl, I have just nominated you for a Sunshine Award, God Bless.

  2. Hi Pearl & sorry for not visiting or commenting here in recent times.

    I'm sorry to hear of the loss of the wife of your Music Director friend at Thanksgiving. The death of anyone close to you is never easy but it is always more difficult when it occurs at a time when others are rejoicing. It also then means that in future years, the festival or celebration, is always also the anniversary of the death.

    Please forgive my usual proof-readers eye, but it should be 'I wonder as I wander' - pronounced the same, but spelt differently!

    And strictly speaking, the Christmas Season doesn't last until 2nd February, though I do appreciate the sentiment and fully agree with what you are seeking to imply. The season of Christmas ends on Twelfth Night, the evening of 5th January. But is followed by the season of Epiphany which does stretch right through until 2nd February, the Feast of Presentation or Candlemas. And the whole forty days are a celebration of the Incarnation, the coming of the Son of God into our world, born of the Virgin Mary.

    May I wish you both a Happy and a Holy New Year!

  3. My apologies for my long, long, long lack of response to your comments here!!!

    @Richard: Umm, thanks for you nomination! I don't know what a Sunshine Award is (or if it's hypothetical!), but it sounds quite nice, so I'm honored! ;-) Thank you for the condolences on behalf of Pat's family. He's actually out in California now, visiting with his son and granddaughter, only 2 now. You are absolutely right about grieving being all the more difficult during a time when everyone else is celebrating a holiday, or something similar. I found it extremely difficult to get through the Thanksgiving festivities without feeling rather sick over it all. Thank you for your thoughts, and please do continue to keep them all your prayers.

    The wonder/wander confusion has now been corrected, thanks to your proof-reader eye ;-)

    I guess the Christmas Season and Epiphany Season are rather interconnected, so we just merge 'em for convenient purposes.....especially when late Christmas cards lay languishing in the wings! ;-)

    I hope you have a happy and blessed 2014 as well!