Since I'm recording this just for my own remembering, and for my family if they're interested, it doesn't matter that I'm several days late, again. Anyway, just when our family was really enjoying watching the Vatican Chimney for smoke (which I never did get to see live), this happened.
Unfortunately, we were in a parking garage at the time, and with no smart phone, we could only listen to the crowds cheering and bells ringing through the car radio. After one more stop to pick up a kid, we raced home to find out who our new pope would be. The watching was a little anti-climactic, since it took such a long time for him to be announced. Like waiting for the birth of a baby. But what joy when we found out his name: Pope Francis!
Having gotten to know and love St. Francis of Assisi through the Franciscan Brothers Minor, I could only think a Pope Francis is what the Church (and the world) need right now. And all the newness! The phrase "ever ancient, ever new" kept running through my mind when we found out that our new pope is the first Francis, the first South American, and the first Jesuit to become pope.
As exciting as these days have been, I'm looking forward to the days ahead, getting to know our new Holy Father.
After waiting ten days and agonizing over where to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, Jim and I settled on what was actually my first choice, Club Soda.
We started off with a couple of their signature martinis, the Sinatra. Taking a corny hand-holding photo along with our special drinks just seemed the right thing to do. Anyway, the martinis and food (I splurged on a $30 filet mignon, and Jim chose chicken) were incredible. Now, we never eat like this. I can safely say it's been at least 5 years since we ate anywhere remotely as expensive and fancy.
I only wish they had told us we would also get bread and salad with our entree. And a side of green beans. Maybe I wouldn't have bought that $2.00 baked potato and ended up eating more food than I need for three days. Oh, well, you only have one 25th Anniversary, right? They had a sweet jazz quartet playing, and we had a great time.
After a long summer of consistently high temperatures, we're expecting our first frost tonight. These
are some of my last vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes for the year, unless the weather warms up quite a lot in the next couple of weeks. The big one is a variety called Mortgage Lifter, and the two smaller ones are Rutgers.
We all seem to be glad that summer is basically over. By which I mean not only that we're back into a school year routine, but that the hot weather seems (hopefully) to be over for the most part. After the hottest summer most of us can remember, it's great to feel a cool breeze, or even just to be able to go outside without gasping. Anyway, since I'm rebooting my blog, for myself and family, not to write to an "audience" (although I obviously don't care if others read it, since I'm putting it on the internet), I thought I'd start out with a some highlights, or not-so-high-lights, of Summer 2012.
Summer just can't start in Fort Wayne without a trip to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. I always love to see this albino peacock strut his stuff.
Pretty much everything at the zoo was as usual, except that the alligator had recently smashed the
glass of his tank with a wicked tail swipe. So we didn't get to see the alligator this trip. Never one of my favorites anyway, since he mostly just lies there on the grass or in the water, so no big loss.
Getting our dog, Shadow's, hair cut off may not seem like much of a highlight, but it makes a huge
difference in the amount of hair we have to clean up. He is also much happier all summer, as well as smelling clean for a change.
Early in June, we were able to go again on a bus trip to Cedar Point. Jim's company pays for all the employees and their families admission, as well as getting us there. Thanks, Sweetwater Sound!
Well, not all highlights can be positive, right? At the end of June, a derecho hit several states, including our area, leaving over a hundred thousand households and businesses from Indiana to the East Coast without power for days to weeks. Tree limbs were downed all over the place. Our neighborhood with all its big, old trees, was hard hit. The picture shows a big limb from one of our trees blocking the street out front until burly neighbor men came and hauled it down the street until the city could pick it up with the other debris. We were among the lucky ones, though, who only went without power for a few days. Still, it was not our favorite experience.
In early August, our beloved Franciscan Sisters Minor allowed the public to a one-time open house
of their new monastery before they became cloistered nuns the next day. We miss being able to interact with them, but are so glad these Poor Clare nuns are here, praying for all of us. The pictures below are from a newspaper article covering the Enclosure Mass.
We love our Poor Clare Sisters and Franciscan Brothers!
Since cake seems to be our default dessert for important feast days, I made yet another cake for Pentecost today. I was planning to make something a little more elegant than this, last year's effort:
So I thought I'd put strawberry halves on it to look like flames. Unfortunately, the boys remembered the cookies on last year's cake, and wanted cookies again. At least this year's cake was somewhat better:
I'm not a bit Swedish or Sicilian (two cultures with devotions to St. Lucia), but my memories of Santa Lucia go back to way before I was Catholic. Back in the seventies, when public school teachers could still mention God in the classroom, my beloved first grade teacher (are you out there, Mrs. Dobler?) decided to teach us about Santa Lucia. Mind you, this was in a public school. Anyway, she told us she would choose the girl with the birthday closest to Christmas to "be" Santa Lucia, and that was ME! I got to leave the class, and go into the library where my beloved teacher and the librarian put a long white gown on me over my clothes, and a crown with unlit candles on my head. I was then given a platter of peanut brittle (okay, it's traditionally rolls, but they used what they had) to pass out to the class. This scenario would never happen in a classroom today for a variety of politically correct reasons (too religious, sexist, non-inclusive, etc.), but it's a special memory for me. If you've never heard of St. Lucia, she was an early Christian martyr who angered her betrothed by giving the family fortune away to the poor. He apparently wasn't a Christian, and he ratted her out to the authorities, who put out her eyes, and eventually put her to death by the sword. She's the patron saint of blind people, and is often shown holding her eyes on a small plate. To honor St. Lucy, and bring back a lovely memory, I'm baking this braided St. Lucia bread from Karen Edmisten's blog. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Nature Notes, YouTube & Long Lost CDs!
(How's that for a mixed bag?) Well, good Tuesday morning, my friends! I hope your week's going well ... First order of business ... Nature Notes! Remember th...