debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
... Have a 150th Anniversary celebration at the local Jesuit church.

I did attend the Mass at St. Al's today. It was long. As usual, the exceptional choir kept it from being boring or dragging. The RC Archbishop of Washington preached. His preaching was sincere, but long, and it wandered quite a bit and didn't provide much spiritual sustenance. I wonder how they teach 'em to preach in Catholic seminaries. Jesuits are sometimes OK preachers - but not always. Fr. Deacon (my foster dad) is always an exceptional preacher. He gives a very limited but nourishing diet of "here's how you love one another." You can hardly go wrong with that recipe. He loves to have you turn to the person next to you and say, "Friend! Oh, Friend! I love you, and..." (fill in the blanks depending on the gospel: "I'll always offer you a helping hand," "Jesus and I love you in spite of," etc.). This sermon was a History of Catholicism in North America and Washington, DC, plus a lot of "the earliest Church was Catholic" and "isn't it great to be Catholic," which I found particularly amusing in light of the fact that a lot of non-Catholics go to St. Al's. It's a very good parish community, though I doubt Pope B. would think so.

I am always interested in listening to a new person preach. Sometimes you just can't hear something when it's expressed in a certain way, and you need to hear it again from someone new. We have three priests who regularly preach at St. Nicholas, and each of them has his own particular style.

Church is soothing to me. M. Charlotte and I were talking about this last week. She said that sometimes she goes into church wondering why she even bothered to come at all - especially after she and her husband (who is a very good preacher, by the way) have had a fight. We talked about the relief one can get from the liturgy when one is unhappy, angry, or stressed. When I am happy and in a good mood, church makes me happier. This is why [livejournal.com profile] papertigers encourages me to go, especially when I'm not feeling like going because I'm unhappy or in trouble. She knows that I am better for it.

That was today's main event. Millions of blessings on my parents and grandmother for enabling us to buy groceries this week. Hooray gift cards!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] papertigers, being perhaps the best girlfriend of all time, gave me a major gift: while I was sobbing in the guest room, she went out and bought me Cap'n Crunch and milk. She has treated me so gently all day that I am ashamed of myself for despairing. I am a very lucky woman.

Tomorrow I get to see [livejournal.com profile] klaughingbrook's two daughters serve at Mass. It's good to be loved.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
There will be no birthday party for me tomorrow. It's my own fault. I can't see anything I have going for me.

I am not this strong.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Yesterday was the Actual Day... my birthday. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers gave me the gentlest wakeup ever, covering my face with kisses before heading out the door. I had my favorite cereal (Cap'n Crunch) for breakfast. Then I went to work... where one of my coworkers offered to take me out for coffee or a drink or something in celebration, because she's a very nice person. However, I couldn't go because I had arranged to meet my friend I. for coffee.

We had coffee near his work (he is the parish administrator for a local Episcopal church), talked, and then he gave me a tour of the church, which was built in 1913 and is really beautiful. It is small, with gorgeous stained-glass windows, a European-style choir, and walls and ceilings of dark polished wood.

I did some shopping and then went home, where I cleaned the house a bit. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers came home, bringing with her: [livejournal.com profile] dindin; a bouquet of hybrid calla lillies; and a bag of veggie Pirate's Booty. She proceeded to make mojitos (with a little help from me) and fajitas (with even less help from me). After dinner, we ate the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that she made from scratch. I opened presents from my maternal grandparents ($25 and a Target gift card), paternal grandfather (the usual $100), and parents (Trader Joe's gift card and a wonderful surprise). We listened to Revolver while taking [livejournal.com profile] dindin home. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers cuddled me to sleep.

My birthday continues until the Renaissance Festival on Sunday. Today, I got (from [livejournal.com profile] papertigersvolume 2 of a 2-volume set of children's literature that I'd gotten as a kid from my Uncle Jim, who owned a bookstore. Volume 2 had been lost some time ago, and I had been sad, since it was by far the better volume of the two. Now it is restored to its rightful place on the bookshelves. I have a thoughtful girlfriend.

A pleasing birthday overall.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
On Tuesday, I got to go see U2 - concert tickets thanks to my mother, for my birthday. I took [livejournal.com profile] klaughingbrook with me.

It was cold. The opening act, Muse, was pretty good. The audience was oddly dead - I was the first person to stand up, and nearly the only one for the first five songs. U2 played music from the War album all the way up to the present, including "The Unforgettable Fire" (song, not album), which I have never heard them do live in almost 23 years of U2 concert attendance. They brought up a small boy from the audience for "City of Blinding Lights" (the boy got to wear Bono's sunglasses) and a young Sikh man for "Sunday Bloody Sunday." They gave him an American flag and allowed him to sing the last verse (Bono helping on lyrics). He was thrilled and hugged Bono several times, which was adorable. At the first encore, Archbishop Tutu did a video introduction to "One." ("The people who marched for Civil Rights in America are the same people who liberated South Africa from Apartheid... the same people who broke down the Berlin wall... the same people who fought for debt forgiveness that freed up enough money to get AIDS drugs into Africa... the same people who are here tonight.... We are one people.") I cried through "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of." I hadn't listened to that song in so long... and clearly I'd needed to, because I sobbed when they sang,

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along the stony path
It's just a moment
This time will pass.


It's what someone has needed to tell me for a long time now. I've needed to hear it.

I have such a long history with U2 (starting at about age 3) that I sometimes feel that I know them on a personal level. It was like a visit with family. It was good.
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I got an early birthday gift today. We stopped, on impulse, at a yard sale on Aspen Hill Road. The woman having the yard sale was French and had lived in Kenya for seven years. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers bought me a Touareg leather lamp. It is gorgeous and gives off a lovely golden light. I am so excited.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I had an amazing birthday and birthday weekend. I got phone calls from my parents, my maternal grandparents, my godmother, the mother of my godsons (and the boys, one of whom asked if I had a wand, since I'm his godmother), my former piano teacher and her sons, two aunts, two uncles, one cousin not residing at home, and two sisters.

[livejournal.com profile] papertigers is very sneaky. We woke up and opened presents. She made biscuits and cooked sausages for breakfast, and we ate them with fresh watermelon. We took a nap. Then we went to the botanical garden for a few hours, and meandered over to downtown Silver Spring.

[livejournal.com profile] papertigers asked me to lead her to the Metro, and when we got there - there was [livejournal.com profile] scooterbird! We were met by [livejournal.com profile] efbq and their two kids. Then [livejournal.com profile] papertigers took us all to a Cameroonian restuarant.

I got a home-made scarf, $100, a new book that I really wanted, some necklaces, a bracelet, some rather strange socks... and:

An ice cream maker/Ben & Jerry's cookbook!
A visit in March from my oldest sister and her husband, for a whole week!
A trip to Los Angeles for Christmas!

These were the BIG and very hard to beat highlights.

I'm hoping to get a picture of my godsons today.

Happy birthday to me!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] papertigers, [livejournal.com profile] klaughingbrook, [livejournal.com profile] silk1, and I went to Restaurant Nora last night to celebrate my birthday, very belatedly. The tab was picked up by my parents via credit card. I can't begin to tell you how fabulous the food was. It wasn't that everything was perfect; it was that everything was a little more than perfect, including the service. Example? [livejournal.com profile] silk1 was mildly disappointed that they were out of creme brulee by the time we finished our leisurely dinner. The chef, hearing her sigh, whipped up a little creme brulee from what he had left in the kitchen and brought it to us for free (she'd already ordered another dessert), and was very apologetic about it. The wine was good and the port was excellent. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers discovered the joys of cosmopolitans. Really, there was not a single flaw in the whole dinner. It was so nice to be with people whose company I enjoy, and who enjoy each other's company, and to see them so happy together and so happy with their food. We're thinking of getting the group of us together more often, just to hang out and talk.

I am so lucky to have so many good people in my life. I hope I never forget how very blessed I am.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Cried my eyes out at J's wedding. It was lovely. I got a birthday cake and seranade at the evening reception. We saw a beehive at the morning reception. I felt very pretty in my new blouse. The evening reception was at the Coyote Point Museum, which features groves of eucalyptus and redwood and a location mere feet from the water. You can see the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and all of San Francisco from there. It's amazing. What a location for dinner! The food was wonderful, too.

For most of yesterday and today, we have wandered San Francisco. I went to the beach with N to walk the dogs and watch the sunset and see some wildlife. Then she took us to dinner at a very relaxing place by the water in Sausalito (which is where she lives, and where we are staying). She and [livejournal.com profile] papertigers get on very nicely.

Outside, there are Stellar's jays and scrub jays, coyotes, mule deer, sea lions, a creek, and a million beautiful trees. I keep going outside just to look at it all. It's so beautiful and relaxing here. I wish we lived closer and could come more often. It's strangely wonderful to be back on my native territory, where I am able to identify so much - animals, plants, even streets. Navigating San Francisco is lovely. One passes a million familiar landmarks and streets; so many carry good memories. I don't think I've ever been miserable in San Francisco, and because of that, it's kind of a charmed place for me.

I think [livejournal.com profile] papertigers is having fun, too. She joined me in having a hot fudge sundae this afternoon; it felt luxurious to indulge, for once.

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