After Dinner Thoughts

Since I've been a derelict blogger these past few weeks, I thought it'd be nice to post TWICE in one day.

Hooray.

The routine of the novitiate is well established at this point, just in time for us to leave in four weeks for the 30-Day retreat. For those of you who don't know (and do care) this is the 30-day retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. It's a fun-filled month of prayer and reflection where you pretty well figure out how terrible a sinner you really are and that God still likes you. Oddly enough, that's a big revelation for a lot of people! For me, it's the opposite. I know God likes me, but I figure God'll need a full month to realize that I really do like him.

Next semester I will be returning to the classroom in order to instruct children in religion. When I was a young'n this involved making cards for everyone and his brother, singing practice for mass, and learning/saying that we love Jesus.

Barf.

I will terrorize these children and mold them into my own image and likeness. There will be no rainbows, no "Jesus Loves Me" fingerpainting, no cutesy-wootsy songs about Noah's Ark. None of it, I tell you! We will learn conciliar history, the principles of exegesis, the philosophical underpinnings of transubstantiation, and most certainly we shall spend an ample amount of time on the transcendental Thomism of Karl Rahner. I'll be damned if my kindergarten students will leave my class without *some* modicum of knowledge. I'll whip them into shape for the first grade, so help me I will.

Apart from all of this, Jesuit camp is going well. As I told a lot of people at the Oireachtas, entering the Jesuits was sort of like pledging a fraternity (complete with the beer) though with more prayer. If we did arts and crafts, we'd be pretty well the Boy Scouts.

Here's an observation for everyone. Have you ever noticed that students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades smell funny? I noticed it a lot this weekend. NOt that I went about sniffing kids, but being around them for them for three days...well, it was hard not to notice. I suppose one could say that 6th graders smell rotten, like old brocoli or spoiled carrots. They are just getting to the point of needing to use deodorant (the dreaded D word) but they don't realize it/aren't cognizant of the fact that BUYING the stick/can of it does *NOT* accomplish the same thing as USING it. 7th graders smell sort of like puke - they know they are stinky, they do use deodorant, but they've foresaken the SH-word -- shower. By the time they get to the 8th grade, all bets are off and the kids smell like they just emerged from a morgue. Rotten, Puke, Death. The stages of Junior High odors.

And another thing. THis weekend, I had the most unfortunate experience of sitting at the side of the stage where the dancers congregated. Now, don't get me wrong: I love talking to the kids. But there is nothing worse than having to play the accordion for 8 hours and having Suzie-Q cut the cheese right before she ascends the stage, leaving you to inhale the toxic fumes from her taco salad eaten the night before. Really. I totally understand nervousness, but it was pretty gross sitting there all day. Not even the boys had such flatulence...I was mortified. Scandalized.

Some might think these last two paragraphs a bit odd. They are. Keep in mind, however, that I have a sister named Hagan (Hagan is like Ryan-lite for those of you who know me and don't know her; or, if Ryan is version 4.0, she's version 1.5) and have become very attentive to people of her age...usually to try to gauge whether she has any chance of emerging from our family as a "normal." My posts tonight will be certain to get a rise out of her, perhaps enough of a rise that she'll go to my transplated library and find a nice book to read.

Speaking of which.

My brother moved my books. ALL of them. Colin, who won't pick up a book to read it, actually moved an entire bookshelf/the books it contained in order that the room that he BARELY occupies be enlarged by about four square feet. I'm just shocked that he didn't burn them for fuel. My lovely categorical system for organizing my texts is now in a shambles and I just can't WAIT to get home on Christmas to see what hellishness he's wrecked upon the rest of the house.

Now that I'm in my Christmas cheer, I'll be home from December 25th-29th. If you'd like to take me out for a cup of coffee or a steak dinner, that'd be lovely. Since my family apparently doesn't like my books, and my books were an enormous part of my life, I take it they don't like my life, ergo they do not like me; thus, I am forced to find a new place to stay for the holiday. If I can't use my frequent flier miles to go to a Ramada inn (or, with my luck, the Flea-Bag Inn on Brookpark with the hourly rates) or some other high-class place, I'll stay at my grandmother's house. She still loves me....she has to, as I'm her ticket to heaven. There's an Irish custom that the mother of a priest gets to go to heaven for free (this Irish custom was the precursor to Monopoly and the "get out of jail free" card). I rescind this offer to my mother and extend it to my grandmother, because she would NEVER have let my books been moved. So there.

It feels good to write again - I've had sarcastic constipation and it seems the Oireachtas was the just the laxative I needed. I hope this is a sign for great regularity in the future.

Cheerio!

Ryan

**Oh, my dessert kind of sucked tonight. I made a "cookie pizza" and tried my damnedest to tint the white-chocolate fudge sauce a deep red in order to make it look like pizza sauce. I could only color it a deep pink, so the "cookie pizza" looked like I dumped a bottle of Pepto-Bismal on it and then sprinkled it with M&M's. Ah well, I did try. I think I get to make a bread pudding for a luncheon on Friday, so that'll be good, I hope.**
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