Yesterday, it finally got up above freezing, briefly. It's been so cold that both of my rings were slipping off. I wear two rings and I they are both on the same finger: my wedding ring is a little too loose and in the winters I need to wear another smaller ring on the outside to keep the wedding one on. (I end up wearing it year-round usually because I never think to take it off when the weather gets warmer.)
Yeah, I could have it re-sized, but that's no fun. Obviously, there is only one option: wear a third ring to keep the second ring on that keeps my wedding band on.
This is the first year my kids aren't wrecking all the Christmas decorations or pulling the tree down on their heads. They don't even chew on them!
I started this blog earlier this year while living in India. There were several reasons I decided to write a second blog, but one of them was that I really try to keep my family blog mostly lighthearted and drama-free. There are several reasons I do that and one of them is that I don't really like fielding phonecalls from concerned relatives if I happen to post anything like, "I'm having a hard time staying on my feet when I leave my apartment because everything is so overwhelming." They worried. It stresses them out. And I had enough trouble not worrying or stressing out those around me: if mama can't keep it together, it's bad news for everyone else.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we marked the anniversary of our arrival in Kolkata. November 26th, to be exact. As I look back on those initial moments and try to remember, it's actually kind of fun to have the happier moments captured in photos and anecdotes. I can't forget that first month; the heat, the multiple-baths-a-day for the kids, the jet-lag, the excruciating back-muscle spasms that followed the jet-lag because the kids were all piling in and sleeping on and around me in my tiny bed and which meant that I couldn't sit or stand for more than a few minutes every day, the struggle to find meals that were more or less kid-friendly (=meals where The Spicy would not kill them---in India, these do not exist so the kids did not eat very much food), that terrible reaction to the anti-malarials I had and the three painful weeks that passed before I was finally diagnosed (during which I could not eat very much food). Yes, all of that I do remember.
But thankfully all that is in the shadow of that mystery wooden box that construction workers showed up to install on our apartment wall, and now when I can look back I can mostly forget the ugly and just remember the good times.
Today is the Feast of St. Juan Diego and yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. At Mass this morning, the priest linked these two days in a very simple way that I had never considered before: St Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant, became known because of a Marian apparition (Virgin of Guadalupe). And not only is Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the patron of the United States, but long before that she was also "declared on 8 November, 1760, principal patron of all the possessions of the crown of Spain, including those in America" (source). St. Juan Diego was canonized in 2002, the first indigenous American saint.
This year, on the first Sunday of Advent, English speaking Catholics switched over to using the wording of the new translation of the Mass. It's been a little awkward. Little changes like "And with your spirit" rather than "And also with you." I keep forgetting, though, so my version is something like this: "and also with---oh, right."
There are a couple of other minor changes which I barely noticed (and one that I always said anyway, oops!). It could be (and I am not completely sure of this) that it is because Anglicans and Episcopalians have been saying it this way all along...? Through my highschool years, my family went to a Church of England church (only because there was no other English-speaking Presbyterian option, I think) and in college I went to an Episcopal church.
Here is another remnant of my Church of England days: I much prefer their version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem." The melody is just so much prettier, isn't it? (I don't love her voice, but the soloist's tunic is awesome. Also: we never sang the descant so only the first part of this clip is actually relevant.)
Speaking of descants, it seems to be traditional in England to sing the third verse of "O Come All Ye Faithful" like this (starts at 2:46):
I've only heard it sung this way in church in England. Anyone else? Do ya'll Mennonites sing it like this?
(more takes at Jen's)