Monday, December 26, 2005

St Stephen's Day

I have often shared details about how I pray or how I think about things, so I think it's appropriate for me to share how I spent my Christmas:

My eyes began to well up with tears as I looked around the table last night. Here, gathered in my grandmother's kitchen, I scanned those around me to see my mother, my aunts and uncles, and a few cousins who had all gathered together to spend the holiday together. There were others around, of course - kids playing in the living room, other relatives chatting merrily in the family room recounting events of the past, but here in the kitchen, here in the heart of my grandma's house, I felt tears in my eyes as I saw all those gathered around me...

and I had to blink back the tears induced by the foul and malodorous gases my uncles seemed to draw forth from the very depths of hell to share with the rest of the family. I mean, I'm all for the Christmas spirits, but PLEASE - the federal government would do well to monitor the gas emissions of my three uncles as I suspect they contribute more to the degradation of the ozone layer, the nation's consumption of air freshener, and the purchasing of scented candles than any other triumverate. I honestly believe that the headache I am feeling right now is less a consequence of drinking (I had nothing to drink last night) and directly attributed to the lack of oxygen I suffered while playing board games in the kitchen. The stench was so bad at times that my aunt Cheryl conjectured that her nasal passages were on the verge of rupture, the lights began to flicker as the odious gases corroded electrical wiring, and I fear that my hair loss has now been accelerated exponentially.

If that's not holiday cheer, I don't know what is.

I can give a shot-out to my godfather Jack Duns and my aunt Nancy for their gift of Dunkin Donuts gift certificates. I *love* DD's coffee and, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe there is a Dunkin Donuts not far from my new community. My dad is telling me as I write this that Jack and I have something very profound in common: neither of us drinks lite beer. I hate lite beer and have found it more prudent to bring my own beer to my house (my father doesn't buy anything special for me either, Jack) rather than suffer quafting lite brews.

For some, this post will seem a radical departure from my more introspective musings. If, however, you traverse the broad-scope of my blogging, you'll find this post more in line with the "old days" of my blog and, though perhaps a little obnoxious, I'd like to think that I'm simply staking out my stake in the Hagan family's pantheon of strange characters. Besides, I have a feeling that the work I do and report on this semester as a Clinical Pastoral Education intern will give rise to many more serious posts, so I might as well get my silliness out now!

Monday, December 19, 2005


Howdy! The novices leave this evening for our Christmas Triduum which will end on Thursday. SO, until that time, there'll be no posts nor any way for me to answer phone or email messages. It is with great eagerness that I have been awaiting this retreat and I feel that I need it quite badly both to put some time into my prayer and to spend some time reading and sleeping.

When we began the semester, I made it my personal goal to be able to bench press 135lbs four times. Being sick for many weeks, coupled with other stresses, I really struggled to achieve this goal. Even on Friday I could get 135lbs up twice, but had a heck of a time getting beyond that. Well, today I managed to get all four - not just one set of four, but TWO. Then I struggled to get 155lbs twice...which didn't go quite as well but I did manage to do it with help.

I mention this as I go away for Triduum because it seems to me that this is an apt image for many of our spiritual lives. We put in the time and effort, despite the chaos of our lives, and so often it seems that nothing happens. It seems that our effort and energy is wasted and that we've nothing to show for all our trying. Yet changes do happen and we do get stronger...even though it takes a long time for us to see it!

So that's that. It's time now to pack my comfy clothes and the other Chronicles of Narnia that I want to read. I wish all of you a very merry and blessed Christmas and, in case I don't get to post before then, a very happy new year.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This was my first Hockey Game (Motor City Mechanics versus the Quad City Mallards). Posted by Picasa

A group photo of us with our new pool table. We also have a cover for the table that allows us to play table-tennis on it. Last night, for our Christmas party, we covered the table and used it for our buffet for the dishes we served. I'll write more about that when I have time! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Updated Recipe!

Yes, at long last, I have updated the Recipe Site. Tonight's offering is a delicious Spice Bread that will be a sure hit at any gathering.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Open House

In keeping with the new tradition, we will be having an Open House at "La Casa Duns" on the 26th of December. Since it's an open house, it means that anyone/everyone is invited so if you'll be around that evening, please stop by the house for some food and libations. There will hopefully be some music (I expect Mike and Brian will bring their whistles/flute/accordion) and hopefully much laughter.

Things have been very busy in Ryan's life of late. I administered and graded two exams last week. I wrote one of the final exams I'm giving next week and I'll try and write the other one in a few minutes. I'm also in the planning stages of next weekend's "2006 Loyola House Christmas Party" which everyone is invited to attend: 2599 Harvard Road, Berkley, MI 48072. The party begins at 7:30 and there will be much food and much fun to be had by all.

I will be very glad Thursday evening when my final grades are submitted. Until then, I'll be working diligently trying to craft tremendously intricate math problems for my students to tackle and slaving laboriously over recipe books searching for the food offering for our party Saturday night.

**Oh, lest I be too hasty to get to writing my exam: Brian English took first place at his school's science fair. He tested the growth of plants as a function of soil content. As I expect a full report of his statistical findings complete with footnotes and big and hard to pronounce words, I'll be sure to post his research on the web when I have it reviewed by a team of experts on such matters.**

Flute playing priest finds YouTube fame