Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday, November 29 - It's just around the corner.

Yes, just tomorrow and Saturday and bam! it crept up on us. Advent. Oh, the expectation! Oh, the anticipation! Each year I am more and more excited about it.
Last year I learned it was a process. Much like Lent (Thank you Fr. Chris for calling it CHRISTmas Lent). Alas, I only thought about it this way on the third Sunday of Advent. Much like buying your CHRISTmas tree the day after CHRISTmas. So I firmly resolved to start thinking about it right around my birthday. So on October 23rd I turned the page of my appointment book, my cell phone sent out a reminder, Google calendar sent me an email. And I got to planning. I read things, I talked to people, I made a list (this really is of no help. I have so many half finished lists in my to-do notebook that it is rendered pointless) and I prayed.
So here we are, just two more days and I'm ready!!!!

On the CHRISTmas front:
I do not know how it happened but all the talk about waiting until Julian's birthday to buy him a video console (here) , a Wii to be exact was for naught! I don't know how or when it happened, but D. is not only getting a PS2 (I believe infernal machine were my exact words), but we are getting it this Saturday and we are going to unleash it into our lives on January 6th. Big mistake I tell you. But, I have learned that when it comes to cars and technology, when Mr. D. makes up his mind, I better step aside.

The key number is 26.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday, November 28 - The Perfect Gift

Yes, just three more shopping days until CHRISTmas!
No, I've not gone totally mad! This year I firmly resolve to do no more CHRISTmas shopping after Saturday. What is not done now will have to be done AFTER the 25th of December (which will actually be the 27th. No, I'm not planning to lose a day. The 26th is a holiday in Cataluña, St. Steven). What? Yes, that is my Advent resolution. You don't know about those! Well, let me see if I can decipher my madness for you.
Every CHRISTmas it's the same old thing. I buy some stuff at the after-CHRISTmas sales, some at the July sales (In Spain sales are only allowed twice a year. They start after Epiphany and on July 1 and last for about two months. Strange. Yes! But that's what I have to work with!). The rest of the stuff I buy in December. The typical scenario goes like this:
I go shopping sometime in early December. Can't find exactly what I want. As if the perfect gift exists. So I'm faced with having to go out on December 23 and 24 and fight everyone else for the not-so-perfect gift. Frankly, I'm tired!
This year things will be different. If I do not find anything in the next three days (I probably won't because Julian and I are sick and have no strength to go shopping) I will make cookies for those who I know will appreciate them and the rest will have to wait until Epiphany (Reyes) to receive their perfect or imperfect gift.
What in the world will I do from December 2nd until the 24th I will concentrate on preparing for Baby Jesus to come. So, I have to clean house, not just the mess I have around me, but the one I have inside too. I want to be squeaky clean when Jesus comes. I'll be looking at web pages, blogs, listening to podcasts, going to daily mass, talking about Advent, teaching Julian to be prepared in his own way. With all of that to do to get prepared, I'll hardly have any time to go downtown in search of the perfect gift. I'd rather get the perfect gift at midnight on December 25th.
Speaking of which; there are only 27 more days until CHRISTmas!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Break in Programing... Si no justicia, ¡castigo!

Le hemos explicado a Julián que los malos de la clínica Ginemedex van a ser castigados. Como mínimo, que cumplan la ley, que para eso está (independientemente de lo sea moralmente lícito). Aquí se puede leer más.

Every time my husband walked in front of the Ginemedex clinic with Julian, he would tell our son to say a prayer for all the dead babies that had been murdered inside. Well, it looks like Julian's prayers have been answered. That clinic, and three others in Barcelona were closed down for allegedly performing abortions in the 7th and 8th month of pregnancy. When interviewed, Dr. Morín (he took the money from the women, not sure if he held the murder weapon) earlier this year he was quoted as saying, "You have your morality, I have mine". Looks like you'll be taking your "morality" to jail with you. I'm sure Julian has prayed for you tonight, Dr. Morín. Here is some information on the case.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tuesday, November 27 - CHRISTtmas Music

Advent season begins in 5 days.

Well, the Advent wreath is well on its way! Now I'm making an Advent calendar. I have the traditional one with little windows that you must open on the 24 days prior to CHRISTmas. I want to make another one for Julian. Trying to get ideas. Anyone?

I've been listening to Christmas music. I ran across a lovely 16th Century Spanish Villancico (carol) that has me mesmerized. It is called "Riu, riu, chiu". I have not figured out how to put music on here (can it be done?) so I will subject you to a Youtube video. The version I have is better, but alas, one must do with what one has (the hand clapping is a bit of an excess) . By the way, don't miss The Monkees (yes, THOSE Monkees!) giving it a go.

And by the way, did you know that we only have 28 more days until CHRISTmas?!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Monday, November 26 - Toy Adventure and Santa Sighting

Just six more days and Advent will begin!

This past weekend D., Julian and I went to Toys-R-Us (Yes, there is one in Barcelona, well close by in Badalona) and had a great time looking at all the toys.
We told Julian that we were not going to buy anything, we were just looking to see what he wanted to put on his Christmas list.
Now he has an even bigger list than before. His heartfelt wish goes as follows:
PlayStation (he doesn't care about the number)
A cat
A dog
A brother
A sister (he made sure to tell us that this last wish was ONLY if Santa was unable to bring any of the other things)

Now he wants a race track (Hurray! we already bought a Scalextric C4GT. The US equivalent is a bit different, it includes a Jaguar XKR Trans-Am along side the Aston Martin DBR 9 instead of the Chevrolet Corvette C6R of the Spanish set.), a Lightning McQueen car, a train, anything Spiderman, and the list goes on.
Speaking of Spiderman... Julian got lost at Toys-R-Us. We heard his name over the loudspeakers and D. went running to find him. D. says he had never seen such big tear drops. When Julian saw his father he ran to D. and gave him a great big hug and a million kisses. This was the first time we've lost him. Since he was so upset, we bought him a Spiderman doll. Sometimes we can be such pushovers!

We then headed off to Corte Inglés to continue our window shopping. There we saw Mr. Santa. Julian still believes! The store Santa smiled when Julian approached and told him "My, how you've grown in one year!" Julian was just plain silly with excitement. He made sure to tell Santa he was a good boy. When I asked Julian if Santa had said anything about him not wanting to do his math work at school, Julian responded, "Santa doesn't care about that, he only cares if I've been good or bad." Indeed!

Twenty-nine until Christmas!

Sunday, November 25 - ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Just seven more days for the beginning of the Advent season.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King.
For me this feast is especially meaningful. My Catholic Mexican family was so affected by this historical event that we dare not forget the suffering that those close to us endured in the name of Christ. The story may or may not be known to many so go here to find out more about this dark period of the Catholic Church in Mexico.
The persecution was so fierce and so many people gave their life for their faith in Jesus Christ that I assumed that all Catholics knew of these atrocities. I think that after John Paul II beatified them on his visit to Mexico in 2000 more Catholics became aware of their sacrifice made for their faith.
One of the martyrs was Blessed Miguel Pro. The following is a prayer attributed to him:
Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish... I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith... Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Thirty days until CHRISTmas!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Saturday 11-24 - Advent and CHRISTmas Countdown!

Just eight more days for the beginning of Advent. So I have just one more week to get all the "fun" Advent stuff ready for Julian. Although for me this season is spiritual, I want my child to learn to experience the expectation of this "coming of our Savior." So, I will be making an Advent wreath, a cute non-religious Advent calendar and also a religious one. I want him to learn that although "The World" (I always find the usage of this term perplexing and will write about it another time) celebrates the days leading up to CHRISTmas one way, the way we celebrate, first and foremost, has to reflect what we are celebrating. Once we do that, we can also join the rest of "The World" and buy presents for each other, eat, drink and be merry, because after all what we believe is all about community.

So, there are just 31 more days until CHRISTmas.

Shameful Manipulation

Today D. and I are off to the toy stores with Julian. We already have already know what he is getting, we're just taking him to try and convince him that what is already strategically hidden around our flat and at his avia's is what he really wants.
What he really wants is a Playstation. But D. and I are NOT willing to buy that infernal machine. He's only 6 years old and a rather sedentary child, so a device that encourages him to sit for hours is not something we are considering. If we should succumb to months of unbearable pressure from Julian, we are not at all opposed to the Nintendo Wii. But that would be a birthday gift. So we have six months to listen to a litany of reasons why he can not live without that Thing:
Quiero la Play
My friends have it!
No me quereis.
I'm bored.
Ya he visto todas la películas que tenemos.
I promise I won't ... (fill in the blank) if you buy it for me.
Te prometo que ... (diversas promesas, casi todas ellas sin propósito de ser cumplidas) si me la compras.

And I am sure that he will come up with so many more in the next few months.

Happy Turkey Day

Oh yes, another Thanksgiving away from Mom's house. I miss this holiday soooooo much. CHRISTmas is CHRISTmas anywhere, because He is everywhere. But Thanksgiving... well, that's strictly US.
I can try duplicating the Thanksgiving dinner, (The first time I attempted here in Barcelona I had so saw off half of the drumstick bones because the 12 lbs. bird did now fit into my small oven), but it's not the same. No cranberries here. No pumpkin pie spice. No brown sugar to make most of the desserts that I love. And, I can never make Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day. I must wait until the following Saturday, as I must work on Thursday.
So I've given up trying to make our Thanksgiving dinner authentic. I simply make turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy and a simple apple pie.
What I will do is go to Mass on Thursday and Saturday and give the Lord thanks for the usual things and some that are not so usual. Here's the rundown:
My son and husband
My little ones
My coworkers
Internet (I can keep in touch with anybody)
My calling plan (I can call Mom and talk to her for 30 minutes each day)
The newsstand guy (he saves a Martha Stewart Living magazine each month and hard to find trading cards for Julian)
All the podcasting priests
All podcasting Catholics
All Catholic podcasts

At the end of the day, each day not just Thanksgiving, what really counts is that we recognize how lucky we are that we have so much to be thankful for.

Friday, November 16, 2007

¿Por qué no te callas?

Sí, Hugo Chávez es una vergüenza en el panorama internacional. El problema es que darle importancia a todo lo que vomita este individuo, lo engrandece y sintiéndose engrandecido... pues... no calla.

Ahora, a los que no les toca callar es a los inútiles del Ministerio de Exteriores. Señores, el presidente de Venezuela, que está haciendo todo lo posible por convertirse en REY, ha amenazado a ciudadanos y empresas españolas, ha insultado a políticos españoles (en mi opinion, merecido se lo tienen, pero hay límites) y al Rey (No soy monárquica. En mi país echamos al Rey de Inglaterra hace más de 200 años y no comparto el sentimiento de lealtad a un rey con minúscula, pero si respeto a los que la tienen).
¡Haced algo!
¡Qué mal puestos los teneis!

Ahora le quitamos hierro al asunto.

En español

I suppose that this initial obsession with "Wave of Sorrows" will dissipate, if not disappear in due time. For now, I am looking for any and all information on this song. I am THAT obsessive about U2. I'm not a scary, stalking fan, but I DO ENJOY THEIR MUSIC! (and I think The Edge is sooooo handsome, yes, The Edge, not Bono, call me weird).
So searching for all things U2, and "Wave of Sorrows" specifically, I've run across a few translations of the song into Spanish that I do not agree with. So, I've spent time that I should be using in a more productive endeavor, into translating the song into Spanish.

Wave of Sorrow

Heat haze rising
On hell’s own hill.

You wake up this morning
It took an act of will.
You walk through the night
To get here today
To bring your children
To give them away.

Oh, oh this cruel sun.
Is daylight never done?
Cruelty just begun
To make a shadow of everyone

And if the rain came?
And if the rain came now?

Souls bent over without a breeze,
Blankets on burning trees .
I’m sick without disease.
Nobility on its knees.

And if the rain came?
And if the rain came now?
Would it wash us all away
On a wave of sorrow?
On a wave of sorrow.

Where now the Holy cities?
Where the ancient Holy scrolls?
Where now emperor Menelek?
And the Queen of Sheba’s gold?

You are my bride.
You wear her crown.
And on your finger precious stones.
As every good thing
now been sold.

Son, of shepherd boy, now King
What wisdom can you bring?
What lyric would you sing?
Where is the music of the Seraphim?

And if the rain came?
And if the rain came now?
Would it wash us all away
On a wave of sorrow?
A wave of sorrow .

Blessed are the meek
who scratch in the dirt,
For they shall inherit
what’s left of the Earth.
Blessed are the Kings
who’ve left their thrones,
They are buried
in this Valley of Dry Bones.

Blessed all of you
with an empty heart,
For you got nothing
from which you cannot part.
Blessed is the ego
It’s all we got this hour.

Blessed is the voice
that speaks truth to power.
Blessed is the sex worker
who sold her body tonight.
She used what she got
To save her children’s life.

Blessed are you,
the deaf cannot hear a scream.
Blessed are the stupid
who can dream.
Blessed are
the tin-canned cardboard slums.
Blessed is the spirit
that overcomes.

Ola de dolor

La calina se eleva
de la colina del infierno.

El despertarte
fue acto de voluntad.
Caminas toda la noche
para llegar hoy.
Traes a tus hijos
para regalarlos.

O… o el sol es cruel.
¿La luz del sol, nunca desaparecerá?
La crueldad empieza
a convertirnos a todos en sombra.

¿Y si llega la lluvia?
¿Y si llegase la lluvia?

Almas doblegadas sin siquiera brisa.
Mantas sobre árboles ardientes.
Soy un enfermo sin enfermedad.
Mi dignidad se ha arrodillado.

¿Y si llega la lluvia?
¿Y si llegase la lluvia?
¿Nos llevaría a todos
Sobre una ola de dolor?
Sobre una ola de dolor.

¿Dónde están las ciudades santas?
¿Dónde los pergaminos santos?
¿Dónde el emperador Menelik?
¿Y el oro de la reina de Saba?

Tú eres mi desposada.
Llevas su corona.
En tu dedo piedras preciosas.
Como todo lo bueno,
ahora te han vendido.

Hijo del pastor, ahora rey
¿Qué sabiduría nos traes?
¿Qué letra cantarías?
¿Dónde está la música de los serafines?

¿Y si llega la lluvia?
¿Y si llegase la lluvia?
¿Nos llevaría a todos?
Sobre una ola de dolor?
Sobre una ola de dolor

Bienaventurados los mansos
que trabajan la tierra
porque de ellos será
lo que queda de ella.
Bienaventurados los reyes
que han abandonado su tronos
Están enterrados
en el Valle de los huesos secos.

Bienaventurados los que
tengan un corazón vacío
Pues no tienesn nada
a lo que no puedan renunciar.
Bendito el ego,
es todo lo que nos queda.

Bienaventurada es la voz
que reta al Poder
Bienaventurada la prostituta
que vendió su cuerpo esta noche
Utilizó lo que ganó
para salvar a sus hijos

Bienaventurado tú
el sordo que no puede oir los gritos
Bienaventurados los estúpidos
que aún pueden soñar
las barriadas chabolistas
Bienaventurado el espíritu
que lo pueda superar.

I encourage any opinions/corrections on the translation.
I would also like ideas or comments on the biblical references found in the song:
holy cities, holy scrolls, Valley of Dry Bones, Queen of Sheba, Solomon, Seraphim, The Beatitudes.

Me encantaría recibir opiniones/correciones en cuanto a la traducción.
También me encantaría que se entablara una conversación sobre los temas bíblicos de la canción:
ciudades santas, pergaminos santos, el Valle de los huesos secos, la Reina de Saba, Salomón, los serafines, las Bienaventuranzas.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The wonder that is U2.

Bono, brilliant. U2, awsome. Joshua Tree, a classic. Wave of Sorrow, amazing.
For me, there will be no better band than U2.
I was left speechless when I fist saw them back in 1984.
I was left speechless when I first heard The Joshua Tree.
I was left speechless (literally) when I met Bono and The Edge in LA during the Achtung tour.
Now Wave of Sorrow...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not that I'm counting...

We have just 23 more days until the Advent season begins and 44 more days until CHRISTmas! Hurray!!!!
With CHRISTmas shopping done, I'm not going to start shopping for Reyes (Epiphany for all those outside the Latin/Hispanic tradition) until after New Years Day. So... I have a relatively hassle free month ahead of me :)
Now, my conundrum is the following:
When do I start with the CHRISTmas music? Here in Barcelona, all the CHRISTmas lights have been hung on all the major streets. They have not officially flipped the switch yet (we'll have to wait on Corte Inglés for that) but they are there. I see them everyday on my way to and from work. They tease me. I start to hum "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (The Barenaked Ladies version of course) and have to stop myself. Why? Why must I keep all this CHRISTmas glee to myself. I am not going to break out in song as I walk up Mandri Street, mind you, but I am itching to hear HCJr.'s voice beebopping "Mary's Boy Child".
The problem is that here, we don't have Thanksgiving, which back home is our family's official beginning of the Advent/CHRISTmas seasons. So, what is en expat to do?

Ooh La La, Je suis française!

I always saw myself more of a...hmmm...Spanish-type!
Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.