Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sorry!

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry that I've been terrible about keeping this blog updated: teaching that ONE hour a day is so taxing that I find it nearly impossible to take the time to write. I've just been a lazy bum and haven't really felt much like writing. Besides, if there's nothing for me to make fun of, there's no purpose for my writing.

So let's see what's been happening. I love teaching kindergarten. These kids are so funny and, best of all, they don't smell. I'll try to get a picture of them and post it here so that you may all see them. It's so different from working with college students: when I walked in at JCU, students wanted their papers/grades/extra-credit/extensions. When I walk in now, I get hugs, pictures drawn *just* for me, brownies and juice boxes, and genuinely happy faces. For the record, here is the song in its finished form:

Who's the Leader of the Church
That's Made for You and Me?
J-E-S U-S-C H-R-I-S-T
Jesus Christ!
He Loves Us!
Jesus Christ!
He Loves Us!
Forever Let Us Hold His Banner High!
High! High! High!

So Come Along and Sing Our Song
And Join Us as We Pray to
J-E-S U-S-C H-R-I-S-T!


It's totally cheesy, but the kids really like it, so that's all that matters.

YMCA Update: I am currently developing something called "Muscles." While I was on the long retreat last month, I happened to catch a glimpse of my right arm as I was stepping into the shower and dropped my shampoo to the floor as my left hand flew to the small bump protruding from my flesh, mid-way between my shoulder and elbow. To my great relief, I realized that it was called a Tricep (not a triceratops and, if I had one growing out of my arm, I'd be on Oprah). Yeah, so I'm liking this working out thing. Who'd have thought that I would *EVER* do anything that caused me pain and discomfort (playing a feis?) only to do it again and again and again?

Now, some of you heard that I will be moving to Wyoming to work on a Native American reservation. This is true. But this new development in my life needs some more explaining.

Initially, I had hoped to work through a new cultural medium, say exotic dancing, but that plan was quickly scrapped. Apparently, I've still not the body nor the hair - though I have the body hair - for such a line of work. Ah well, such is life. Thus I decided that I, under the aegis of the Jesuits, would become the third largest land owner in the United States, next to Ted Turner and the late Mother Theresa (don't let anyone fool you, she was a powerful magnet magnate and bought up huge amounts of land where she set up massive strip-mining operations). Now, in my quest for land I have no choice but to turn to the Native Americans, who have much land. Therefore, here is my plan: I will infiltrate their casinos and, under the name Ryan "I Spread the Good Deuce" Duns, I will become the world's greatest black-jack player and, eventually, I'll win all of their land over late-night hands of cards.

Truthfully, I don't know exactly what I'll be doing. I'm really excited about this opportunity as it's a culture I know very little about and it will prove, I believe, to have profound resonance with my own Irish heritage (just less green beer, though this is a peculiarly American convention). This is really just yet another chapter in the Great Jesuit Adventure and I'm thrilled to be embarking upon it. To be sure, I'll keep people updated while I'm there.

Speaking of being there, as an effort to inculturate fully, I've already taken to wearing nothing but a loin cloth and feathers. It's a bit drafty and nippy, but I'm trying to embrace the culture. I just hope they let me on the plane headed for Wyoming in this gear...

Beyond this, I've nothing to report. I'm still trying to find a way to express something of the retreat in such a way that it might be both intelligible to all readers and at least mildly entertaining...sadly, though much of my spiritual life is a joke, I don't know that I'd be able to articulate it in an accessible way. In time, who knows!

Cheers!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hagan Gets Third, eh?

Well, it appears that my sister Hagan won Third Place at the Science fair and now seems to think that she's our next scientist. Knowing as I do the quality of St. Brendan's students, Hagan, I'm sure your demonstration of the complex reaction between Salt + Water = Salt Water must have been absolutely riveting. My sources tell me that you were beat out by Food Coloring + Water = Colored Water (1st place done by the Asian kid, naturally) and the Thermonuclear Reactor run off of the Fission of Pimento Seeds as a Renewable Resource for Perpetual Fuel (2nd place, the Crowley boy).

Oh, Hagan, I've read all 11 of the Lemony Snicket Books. VFD (that's a code).

I teach my first class today at 2:15. I've been working on my lesson plan for the Kindergarten. I think I'll start with my new song:

Who's the Leader of the Club that's made for you and me?
J-E-S U-S-C H-R-I-S-T!

JESUS CHRIST!
HE LOVES US!
JESUS CHRIST!
HE LOVES US!

FOREVER LISTEN TO OUR LEADER RY!!

This is sung to the Mickey Mouse Club Song


It's totally obnoxious and kooky, but I really couldn't care less. Once we establish the fact that "We love to sing in Mr. Ryan's class" we'll then move on to weightier issues: the moral implications of condom distribution, inter-religious dialogue, post-Shoah theology, and the theology of Pez.

Today's lesson:

"Your parents love you because when their Social Security runs out, they're going to move in with you."

That's why I joined the Jesuits.

Cheers!

Ry

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I'm Back!!

Hello everyone!

Thanks to everyone who wrote me while I was away. It's heartening to know that my real family wrote me, so I might chance my name at some point soon to "Ryan English, Ryan Abercrombie, Ryan O'Malley, Ryan DeLeon, Ryan Marquard, or Ryan Allgrim." Interestingly, it will probably not be "Ryan Duns" as my family, in addition to throwing out (and probably burning my books) never sent me any mail. None. Even American Express sent me a letter, but not my family. Well, all I can say is this: we now know who did NOT get any prayers over my 30 day retreat.

On a lighter note, it was a tremendous and moving experience. Not the retreat so much as the coffee they served (Ex-Lax should investigate the coffee's laxative properties....it's like drinking Drain-O). Seriously, though, it was probably the most important part of my life, even more important that being born (since I don't remember it). It will take me a fair bit of time to begin to find a language that will express the experience but, as I find time and ability, I will share it with all of you. Almost completely different from the usual tenor of my posts, these will really attempt to expatiate upon the profound graces and experiences of spending 30 days in prayer and reflection.

So that's that for now. I'll try and get in touch with many of you over the next few days. Mike and Brian English get a special shout-out for sending me a Pez dispenser (Batman), a comic book, Incredibles playing cards, and some hot chocolate. It was most appreciated guys! Your note was quite funny, too. I remember when I had my own siblings but, since they never wrote me, I figure that they must either be in a coma or, perhaps, fell into a trap set by some sinister and devious forces. Or they just are too lazy to write, the direction in which I lean. Now, having written this, I can imagine my mother being most irritated and writing a letter or, GASP, sending one of the 23 birthday cakes I'm still owed (hehehehe)...well, it aint gonna work, Michele, it aint gonna work. You are all out of my good graces and I'll leave your eternal soul up to God -- I imagine that it's possible that God is more lenient than I am, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Okay, that's about it. I'll write again soon!

The Final Chapter?

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