Month: November 2011 (Page 1 of 3)


…I firmly believe in practicing. When the girls were little we’d practice trick or treating the day before Halloween. So they’d know what to expect, how to behave and could do it on their own. When we ate, we practiced our manners. We’d practice reading aloud. I get practice from my Dad.

In the early 1970’s, my parents started talking about retirement. People were retiring, not to the alternate lives many are living today, but retiring to be with the grandchildren, or because of illness, or to a home away from the growing up places to the settling down quiet place. But there really weren’t that many ‘role models’ of retirement out there. Although the actuarial life expectancy had gotten so much better by the 70’s there wasn’t that feeling that 65 was the new 55. 65 was just that, 65. Not necessarily old…

When we asked Dad what he wanted to do in retirement, he said he wanted to fish. We laughed. He didn’t. He was serious. And, like all things Dad was serious about he targeted. He tackled it. He went after it with determination. Not that it was a problem. It was a project that needed to be addressed. Courted. Developed. And he needed education. Not about retirement. About fishing. Why fishing, we asked? Well, when he was a little kid, he lived with his grandparents. His younger brother was sickly, then came another and another and another, etc. and Dad lived until age ten or so with his grandparents. He was the first grandson. The first to carry the Hannick name into the next generation. Irish immigrants. Big Deal!

Joseph Hannick, married to Mary Judge, well-known as ‘the witch’, retired, well, stopped working at around age 45 or 50. We’re not quite sure. Being Irish we have some great stories. Truth? Well, maybe, not so much. Anyway, Great Grandfather like to fish. And he taught little Jimmy. Then came the great grandfather’s death, Dad moved to live with Ed and Mary Scott, uncle and aunt, and grew up as a singleton with seven brothers and sisters. And, he never forgot the fishing.

Then along came retirement. The possibility of fishing. Again. Dad took a class on how to tie his own flies, roll his own rods, cast in streams and in lakes. He read Rand-McNally’s best 100 places to retire. And he practiced. For several summers prior to their retirement, Dad quit his job, Mom was a teacher, so she had the summers off and they would ‘try out a lifestyle.’ One year they went to northern California, Irish Beach, rented a house and lived there. Dad fished. Mom cooked, read, met people. The next year they bought a camper and traveled. Dad fished. Mom cooked, read, met people. One year they went to the desert. Dad fished. Mom cooked, read and met people. Ah, so easy to see a pattern. ūüôā

They practiced. Tom and I practiced retirement this past Thanksgiving weekend.  A little practice is a good thing.


…you may think of this as the Christmas season. I think of it as Advent. The Christmas season comes later. This is the first season of the Roman Catholic Church. And Sunday was the first Sunday. Happy New Year! And. In twenty-five days, WooHoo! big time stuff…A Savior. Wow! This is the time to await, prepare, get ready. The purple and pink candles.The evergreen wreath. The evening prayer. Not yet to read again C.S.Lewis’s, ¬†The Screwtape Letters, that’s for Lent. Another await, prepare, get ready¬†liturgical season.

No. I’m not a Scrooge. I shop. I do crowds. I can do excess. Not so much anymore, not like I used to. I wrap. I bake. I cook. I party. Send cards. It’s all good. Everyone decries the loss of Thanksgiving as a holiday and the use of the day as a kickoff party. Me? I think you can opt in or opt out. You can do what you need to do and still have a great Advent.

Actually, I think this is perfect, because I’m preparing and getting ready in my writing and in my life. Tom and I practiced retirement this weekend. A couple of shopping trips. A couple of projects around the house. A lot of communication. And that’s exactly how we started out. Eric Butler, Teddy, ¬†you were so right. Life is a circle. We started our relationship from either end of the continent. And what made us close wasn’t being in the same room but realizing we had the same goals, drive, interests and, most importantly, we could laugh at the same exact things. It seems sort of full circle that Tom is retiring in the Christmas Season, we can spend Advent awaiting, preparing, getting ready.

Oh. This is going to be good!

a new new thing….

With the first Sunday of the Roman Catholic new year, this year, November 27, 2011, we return to the original Latin, translated into English. So for those of us, aware and cognizant¬†of the mass pre-1963 and the Ecumenical¬†Council called by John the XXIII, the change is a ‘not so much moment’. And, we were young, I was in college when the mass changed into English. I can remember being at the University of Portland, run by the Holy Cross priests, [Fr. Tom Fitzpatrick, C.S.C., called it the only school built on a bluff :-)] ¬†and standing around the altar for mass, the guitars, the holding hands, the singing, but most importantly, the closeness of the Eucharist and the immediacy of the miracle of the mass less than an arm’s length away. I’m a product of catholic schooling from kindergarten¬†through my freshman year in college. Nope. Never rebelled. Never stopped going to mass. Never thought it stupid. Sometimes I argued with God. We had many a fight. I ranted and railed. But in truth, I enjoyed it. It fit me like a glove. Still does. And with Thanksgiving just a day ago, it is something I add to my list of ‘grateful for.’

After the Second Vatican Council, the language of the church, Latin, was translated into the language of the people, the vernacular, for us, English. But. They had to get it done quickly. These were tumultuous¬†times. The translation, using what is called the dynamic equivalence, meant they wanted to get the overall meaning rather than a word-for-word translation. That’s what is changing now. We are moving to a formal equivalence.¬†Correcting how we should speak to God in our mass. A brochure from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in DC states “…there is more than one way of saying the same thing. “Hey, pass the salt!” or “Would you pass me the salt, please?” are all basically saying the same thing and will all likely result in you getting the salt shaker. But some ways of speaking are more appropriate for one context than another.” ¬†It is the difference between sitting at the kitchen table having supper or at a formal dinner. And, after all, the mass is the most formal of festivities, it is the marriage feast.

Our priest, Father Jim Collins, hopes that by reverting to more formal language, the reverence with which we participate in the mass will increase. This will be strange for those who have converted in the last forty years. And, for our children, who like us have to see the church anew. I hope Father Jim is right. Kinda reminds me of when I first when to work, the suits, the silk shirts, the high heels. And, you acted with panache, well, because, you looked the part. Yeah. Kinda like that!


mostly I do, believe in Thanksgiving, if believing means that it is so. And mostly I do thank. I mean, seriously? if I’m going to yell at God when things don’t go well, then I should praise Him when they do go well. Right? I like Thanksgiving; the Norman Rockwell, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, candied yams, pie type of meal. I like that we celebrate with bounty. It shows what being thankful is all about. Going overboard. Pulling out all the stops. No presents. No cards. Just food, family, fun.

As a holiday, it came with the most honorable of intentions. Recognizing for a day, blessings. A day to give thanks for what it is we have. Historically, the interesting thing is that this is a ‘new world’ holiday. And could probably have only happened because of a new beginning, a leaving behind of the old. ¬†One that came about when people fled or were kicked out of a society highly divided by class, with very large obstacles to leap to make the next level, if at all. The whole point was that we could be thankful for being free, individual, making our own way, over a minimum of hurdles. Technically, the populations in Europe were free. But. Not. Society had ossified into levels, canyons, pockets, that pulling yourself out of was nigh impossible. ¬†Now, 200 plus years after fighting for the right to be free and define our own levels I wonder if we have not let ourselves stagnate. At one time ‘to be politic’ meant to be wise, to be sensible. [‘Course, at one time, gay meant to be ‘jaunty, cheerful, carefree. ¬†Sigh.] Anyway…

I am thankful we are free. I am thankful for my lovely husband, my beautiful daughters. For what the next day may bring. I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had, and the ones yet to come.


Okay, I may never get to Page Eight. The longer I stay away the more I think that it was tedious. And. Do I really want to re-tune my ears to the British murmur? No. I’m not deleting it, but it may be a while until I’m in the mood again.

Meanwhile, on FB there was a posting about early-onset of Alzheimer’s, Terry Pratchett [well, really, Sir Terry] and Assisted Suicide. Sad. But when you read his story, for him, I guess, it makes sense. It doesn’t say he’s going to do it, only that he’s making plans. Sad, again. His books are genius. But then, I don’t know what I’d do if I was facing such a loss when I had been so accomplished. Not because of the money, more because of the challenge, the pursuit, the culmination of the story. He is one example of the amazing variety of the brain left to it’s own devices. I sort of like that.

I started reading Discworld when they came from the UK to the States. I think I got the first one through the book club.¬†The Colour of Magic and all the books thereafter were of wonder, fun, a brief look at our society and how stupid we sometimes were. My daughter got involved in them while in high school. ¬†The English teachers at her very preppy private school were terribly unimpressed. I thought that sad too, here was was Jonathan Swift of our century. A true satirist who struck out at the absurdities of everyday.¬†¬†I’ve always been a Sci-fi, fantasy fan. Mysteries too, but it’s going to that world far far away that makes you see. Isn’t that why Star Trek was so successful? Because in a different century, out among the stars, with different groups of people and different societies we could fully see the stupidities and inanities of our own lives? ¬†So Piers Anthony, Jack Williamson, Julian May, Frederick Pohl, Harry Harrison, Herbert, Heinlein, Clark, not to mention Tolkien, Asimov, Peake, and so many more have been amazing to have and to read.

And. To the current crop of fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism, paranormal, speculative fiction, is different. It’s so much more personal. It’s not so much about how the world is and how we change it, but how it affects me and changes me. I’m still trying to deal with that.

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