Stuff I wish I could write more about...
• At the parish where I work, I train altar servers for the Traditional Latin Mass. Today I worked with a set of twins. Now don't get me wrong, I love working with these kids. Still, I can never understand why fifth-grade boys in my day could learn the careful movements and the Latin responses, when even older boys have difficulty with either today, especially the Latin. I suppose it's all a matter of environmental conditioning. A century ago, children in one-room schoolhouses learned Latin and Greek and read the classics, while today children can manage complex video games that would leave me completely at a loss. Tonight I did a run-through for tomorrow's Solemn High Mass with three priests I work with regularly. I'll admit it's a change of pace from working with kids.
• I have found it harder to keep up with free-lance writing work. I'm trying to finish my studies at the Art Institute, and am currently completing a project on independent study. Between the need to catch up on advances in the last year -- the move from ActionScript 2.0 to 3.0 as the industry standard, for openers -- and the particular challenges with dynamic web applications and content management systems, the next year could be daunting. I wonder how many middle-aged graphic designers have the same idea for breathing new life into his career. Do they have as much trouble using both sides of the brain as I do?
• In the last year, I find that I tire more easily than before. I can feel my knees hurting when I go up the stairs of my townhouse. It's the beginning of arthritis, I'm sure of it, having first noticed it about two years ago. Without a low-dose aspirin regimen, I would find it difficult even to walk. I go through periods of insomnia, and it's happening again lately. For several nights running, I had repeated dreams about being rejected. One occasion was about the parish where I work. Another was about Boy Scouting. Then the dreams stopped. Now, some people think dreams have these hidden meanings that require specialized therapy. Others dismiss them as meaningless. I take the middle view, that dreams are what you would be thinking about if your conscious mind had nothing better to do.
• Karen Hall of Some Have Hats asks the question that's been bugging the daylights out of me this election year. "What, exactly, is your attraction to Obama?" She is addressing "born again" Christians in particular. Looking at the responses she gets, it's really hard to tell. But she holds her own against the usual adolescent rebellion. I find that so much of the polemics I endure these days comes down to emotional diatribes and ill-conceived witticisms. I also find that if you start with a sound premise, you can outlast virtually all of them. Unless they begin to bore you, of course, then it's a tough call.
• Speaking of calls, I got one today from some guy with a blocked number saying he was with "Card Services." He was reminding me of an upcoming credit card payment, but couldn't tell me which one, until I gave him a couple of choices. That was just to humor him. He claimed his number was blocked for "security reasons." Apparently my security was not an issue. He insisted that if I couldn't reserve a payment from my checking account in advance, I would incur a penalty. I told him I'd handle it online the day I got paid. When he insisted on engaging me on this issue, I pointed out that his inability to speak clearly in complete sentences did not inspire confidence. Then I hung up. (No, I didn't tell him anything.)
• The holidays are coming, of course. I don't try to get too excited about them, having experienced enough of unrealistic expectations when I was married. I'd be content with a simple dinner at my own home with my family -- basically "Sal" and my son Paul. But her sister-in-law loves to cook and entertain, and holidays are always more fun with children around, so we usually end up over at their place. The roads in this area are usually deserted on the holiday itself, with so many people from this town scattering to the four winds the night before, especially Thanksgiving.
• I look forward most of all, to being at the Altar of God, at a Sung High Mass for Christmas at midnight. These days, the occasion just isn't the same without it.