Sunday, December 8, 2013

In The Land of Scorpions, Gingerbread, and Other Bad Taste

Gingerbread Houses

The House of Nod decided to bring back the tradition of making and decorating gingerbread houses during the Advent season. Siblings, parents, grandparents, and children had a marathon 3-day event: mixed the dough, chilled it for 24 hours, rolled, baked, glued with frosting, and then finally -- decorating with a million candies.

The secret to making truly awesome gingerbread cookies: Crisco. I kid you not. There is no substitute.

Outpost #4 made a beautiful traditional gingerbread house.

The Nodlings' house was decorated by the same committee that designed the platypus. Sleigh, train tracks, koi pond, and gumdrop / non-pareil roof.  What?

My sister K-Lo and hubs embraced some structural failures and went all redneck-ghetto Christmas, complete with patchy lawn, couch, car on blocks, telephone wires, drooping Christmas lights, and ugly siding.

A masterpiece!


Speaking of redneck ambiance, we've had our first snow in the Washington, DC area. Since no one can remember from winter to winter how to drive in the white stuff, I moved my truck from the street where it normally sits. I parked it just to the right of my driveway under some trees, so yes, technically I've parked on the lawn.

What? I still need the driveway clear to get the cars out of the garage.  Moving the truck allows the plows to clear my street, and nobody hits my truck by accident.

Catholic Worst Case Scenario Survival Tip #2

Last week's research into the Catholic Worst Case Scenario Survival Tip about Confession and getting gored by a Yak yielded an unexpected bonus question: What happens if you've been stung by scorpions in Mexico and need to get to confession but can't speak Spanish?

Find out the exciting answer here! Catholic Worst Case Scenario Survival Tip #2

Magnificat Advent Companion
Trying to keep things "in perspective" and "in season" both. This 2013 Magnificat Advent companion reader is only 99 cents and well worth the buck. Includes how to pray the "O" Antiphons.  Use iTunes, Kindle, e-reader -- whatever. Just do it.
A perfect way to live Advent to the full this year.
This Companion features original meditations on the Gospel reading of each day by nineteen gifted authors.
Each issue of the Advent Companion is never the same as the last and contains these one-of-a-kind extras that you won’t find anywhere else:
- a variety of beautiful blessings and essays
- an Advent Penance Service
- specially-commissioned poetry
- a unique feature: the Advent Stations

Holiday greetings
Speaking of seasons, I've got just the touch of holiday Grinch going on. I refuse to wish anyone a "Happy Holiday".  Anyone who wishes me a generic "Happy Holiday" will be forced to choose.

Which did you mean? Merry Christmas, Happy Advent, Happy New Year, Happy Channukah, or what?  I don't care what you choose, as long as you're specific.   

Grump. Grump.

The genericizing of the holiday calendar really bugs me.  We set aside special days and holy days for a reason -- and it ain't one more "holiday" sale.

Hot Buttered Rum
Is there anything more delightful than sitting beside a real wood fire with a hot buttered rum? Didn't think so.
Photo Courtesy of ©

Dinosaur collagen. 68,000,000 years old and still soft. 

Yeah, still fascinates just like when I was 6.  h/t. A Catholic Citizen in America.
"A nearly-complete fossil found in Canada, and collagen extracted from a dinosaur's bone, fascinate me. Your experience may vary."

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Catholic Worst Case Scenario Survival Rule #2

Let's say you're a Catholic who has just arrived in the Land of Scorpions. Your great Uncle Rubin has recently died and left you a claim to a silver mine in his will.  After praying for the repose of his soul, you come down to Durango, Mexico to inspect your inheritance.

After confirming that it is an active silver mine you go into town to celebrate your good prospects and to raise a glass (or two!) in the cantina to your great Uncle Rubin. The next morning you wake fuzzy headed and with strange, painful welts on your arms. You decide that Alacrán de Durango doesn't mean Dance of the Scorpions and wasn't meant to be done with live scorpions in any case.

Overcome with remorse and more than a little worried about the welts on your arms you rush to the local Catholic church and line up for Confession. You jump into the box when you suddenly realize: not only does the priest not speak English, you don't speak any Spanish!

You exit the confessional looking woeful and confused. A friendly old Duranguense man who is next in line greets you in English and offers to translate your confession to the priest.

What's a body to do? Is it OK for this man to translate your confession? Does the seal of the confessional apply to your translator as well even though he isn't a priest?

Things are looking pretty dicey indeed. But this Catholic worst case scenario survival tip is just what you need:
CIC, Canon 983.2 A penitent who does not speak the same language as the priest confessor may bring a translator into the confessional. In such a case, however, the translator is also bound by the seal of confession
The same canon says that anyone who accidentally or purposely overhears another person's confession is bound by the seal to keep it a secret, even from the penitent. 

Anyone who overhears another person's confession must keep this a secret under the seal of confession, under pain of serious sin. The penalties for revealing another person's confessional material must be just, according to the seriousness of the offense. The penalties may include excommunication, though this is not automatic as in the case of a priest who breaks the seal.

So go ahead and 'fess up, partner. You get the grace of the sacrament, and your translator pal gets to keep your secret. Remember this Catholic Worst Case Scenario Survival Tip #2:

If you're a gringo without lingo and in distress,
Your friend on the end can help you confess.
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Fozzy Networking

Monday, December 2, 2013

Team Nodlings

I'm feeling good, so I finally followed through on a project from last year.  I had the idea to make the kids Team Nodlings jersey t-shirts so they can watch football with me and just generally be awesome.

I put their Names and Numbers on the back and shirt sleeves (in birth order) and Nodlings on the front with my Nod of Approval logo.

#4 Nub is the one face-up in case you've lost track!

Super fun, I can't wait for them to try them on!  Whaddaya think?


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