Monday, March 29, 2010

Pie Sunday, er, ah, I mean Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday - most notable for the excruciatingly long Gospel - "The Passion", when good Catholics shift from one leg to the other perhaps thankful that at least they're not kneeling for this part of the mass. It also happens to be the day in our parish that the members of the Catholic Women's League raise money by selling pies to the faithful, many of whom are happy to see the end of the sacrifices made during Lent. All of this against the backdrop of the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on a cross more than 2,000 years ago. Meanwhile, back in the present moment, the same battered Roman Catholic church is once again scrambling to respond to the allegations of more sexual abuse, but the real issue for most of the public seems to be the never ending apparent attempts by the hierarchy to brush it all under the proverbial carpet, and to continue to act as though they operate under a different set of laws, standards or expectations then the rest of us. Oh dear. So, for the Catholic Church, I suppose the question remains, can you have your pie and eat it too?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A spring renovation project

The first time it happened, last Friday I think, I thought it was just a fluke. But when she returned again today, I'm thinking this might be the beginning of a long term relationship. I looked up from my computer screen to see a robin looking in at me, or so I assumed - she may just as well have been looking at her own reflection in the glass. I'm hoping that she will see the remains of a long since abandoned nest in the gnarly old tree that gives me shade in the summer as a perfect place to start a family and that she won't find my presence too much of a deterrent. I guess only time will tell. This being the second day of spring, there are of course other signs that winter is making a hasty retreat. The fields are too muddy for me to easily drive up to my shack, so I'm having to find another route to get up there, or get some more aggressive tires. As far as progress on my shack is concerned, I'm pretty well finished with the inside "decor", (tongue and groove pine boards) other than any semblance of trim, or a finished floor, and am now looking to put some kind of finish on the outside walls - I'm thinking board and batten. It's been a great place to escape to and try developing some of my rusty handyman skills. Today I felt I'd pretty much recovered from the 5K run I did a few months ago, so I started back into my workout routine. I'm still toying with the idea of training for the 1/2K marathon in Ottawa, but can't quite get past the whole pain and suffering thing - I'll have to work on that. The horses are nibbling at the little shoots of green grass that are starting to poke themselves out of the grayish brown stubble, and according to Bill, their winter coats are really starting to fall out. I'm hoping to be able to spend some more time with them in the weeks ahead. As much as spring can be a bit muddy, it really is a wonderful time of the year as life regenerates itself. I hope to get out and enjoy it, and hope you'll do the same.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another mother is busy on St. Patty's Day

A while back I blogged about a friend who had just moved his mother into a nursing home and soon found that he was missing her. My solution to his loneliness was to offer him some company in the form of a little dog. I've never been sure as to whether it was coincidence or the result of my blogging that inspired someone else to drop a box off at his back door with a black cat and 3 kittens. In any case, given that he had his hands full with his new dog, my friend offered the homeless cats to me. They were lovely cats - well groomed, well mannered and very affectionate, so it wasn't difficult to find homes for the 3 kittens, but I decided to keep the mother on at the barn as company for the horses and cows, and in hopes that she might keep the mouse population under control. Kitty, or Blackie, as she came to be known, turned out to be a great fit for the job. She quickly took charge of things and became a popular part of the farm scene. Of course it wasn't long before she was entertaining the odd tom cat and before we knew it she was pregnant again. Yesterday she disappeared and stopped visiting her food, so I suspected that the time had come to bring her new litter into her world. Kitty had made a little nest in the attic of the horse barn where she gave birth to 4 beautiful kittens - Blackie1, Blackie2, Greyie1, and Greyie2. I hope you enjoy her first home video as much as I did; check it out on YouTube!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nan turns 82 on St. Patrick's Day

Perhaps it's the luck of the Irish that has given us Nan Corcoran as part of our lives for the past 82 years. Please take a minute to express your sentiments by posting a comment to Nan.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Race day in Peterborough

Since I started working out on a regular basis, I've drawn attention to myself from a few surprising sources. Marathon man Ryan, who I blogged about a while back as providing the inspiration for several reformed couch potatoes, sees me as a bit of a project, offering encouragement and occasional derision (if I miss a day). David, who aspires to be an expert in almost any field, is quick to provide me with pointers on how I can be a better athlete. So, a month or so when Kelly asked me if I wanted to join her in the 5K run in Peterborough, I took her request in stride (no pun intended), mulled it over in my mind, and replied "sure, what the heck", even though I really don't like running. Kelly then checked back with me a couple of weeks ago to see if I was still willing to do the run, and again, I agreed. Fast forward to Saturday night when I receive a text message from Kelly posing the question for the 3rd time. I hesitated in responding for a few minutes, and got another message saying "I guess that means no". Something told me that Kelly was getting cold feet, so I decided to play along. I sent a non-committal text message back saying that I thought there might have been a little more preparation, to which she replied "Oh come on". I went to bed without replying, but mentally, barring any huge obstacles like a blizzard, I was going to run, and I was going to call Kelly's bluff; after all, how hard could it be to run 5K? Sunday morning I sent Kelly a text telling her that I was going to mass at 9, and that if she would pick up the run kits I would meet her in Peterborough. No reply. I went to mass, and headed up to Peterborough. As I approached the "Y", I sent Kelly another text asking her where she wanted to meet me. Kelly, being a text junkie couldn't resist my messages and wrote back that she had assumed I wasn't going to run and because of that, she had decided not to run. My trap had been set, and she jumped into it - now for the guilt trip! (A lifetime of being raised a Catholic had prepared me for this moment). I sent a text to Kelly, using her own words to taunt her "Oh come on, don't be a flake". A minute or two passed, and back came the message, "are you there now?" I had her! Kelly jumped in her car, I picked up another race kit, and 45 minutes later we were at the start gate warming up for what was sure to be an easy run. Boy was I wrong. The first kilometer wasn't too bad (I had David Bowie in my ears cheering me with "Young Americans", but by the end of the song, and the first kilometer marker I was in pain. My lungs and my legs were screaming. I pressed play again as 7 year old children started to pass me. How embarrassing! I did make it to the finish line in just under 30 minutes. I took 2 short walk breaks and took full advantage of the water and Gatorade stands along the way but I was amazed at how difficult this little run was and have a great deal more respect for those who went on to do the 1/2 marathon on that beautiful sunny day in Peterborough. The next challenge is in May in Ottawa where a group of people are talking about doing the full marathon, and I actually said, in the heat of the endorphin induced euphoria suggested that I might take on the 1/2. Stay tuned!