Friday, 28 February 2014

Assisting the Police in Their Enquiries

Oh exciting Scottish life!

There's just been a policeman around, asking me about that episode with the drunken wifies on the bus two years ago. I gave him coffee, and so had a coffee myself, and thus am pretty wired now. Caffeine and righteous indignation are a lethal combination for your humble correspondent.

But never mind coffee. I wonder what Scotland would be like if everyone gave up booze or, at very least, intoxication. Or, at very least, if the women gave up intoxication. I realize that it would be unfair to expect women not to get drunk while putting up with the drunkenness of men, but that's how it used to be in the UK. Public female drunkenness is one of the biggest social changes to British life in fifty years.

I was in Canada for four weeks, and I did not see a single drunken woman. I attended parties. I met up with girlfriends. I went out on different nights to bars and a dance club. I was on the subway almost every day. And I did not see a single drunken woman. The most I drank on any given day was a pint and a half of local beer (that was on bar + Goth night), and mostly I did not drink at all because nobody else was drinking anything stronger than a cappuccino.

This is a total contrast to life in Scotland, where alcohol is part of almost every social gathering and my husband opens a bottle of wine every night. Last night I didn't feel like any dinner, but it suddenly struck me that I would like a glass of wine wine. We didn't have any, so after fruitlessly encouraging me to have red wine, B.A. poured me a small sherry. My mother would have poured me a small glass of milk.

I am pondering why it is people around me in Scotland (and I) drink so comparatively much when people around me in Canada (and I) drink so comparatively little. I used to mention the abstemiousness of my family to my Edinburgh friends, who now note that whenever my family members visit they down gin-and-tonics with great enthusiasm. My protests that any of my family members in Scotland are necessarily on holiday is greeted with derisive guffaws. However, I really do believe it is a case of my polite family doing in Scotland what the Scots do.

It could be the cold. In rural Quebec, it could be that cars are necessary for transportation, especially when it is 20 below zero. It could be the comparatively higher price on alcohol. It could be a different culture in politeness, in which daytime guests are asked if they would like water, tea or coffee, not a sherry, beer or gin. It could be that a Presbyterian attitude towards alcohol persists in Toronto in a way that it does not in Scotland, and that Quebeckers keep to Continental habits. Continental European women are not seen drunk in public. You will never see an Italian woman drunk in public, for example. Public drunkenness is considered very shameful, and so British tourists are getting a very bad reputation in places like Krakow.

It could be that Canadian provincial governments still keep a heavy hand on alcohol sales. You cannot buy hard liquor in a grocery store in Ontario. You must go to an LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) store. And "The Beer Store" is also strictly regulated, too, although not as much as when I was a child. (When I was a child, no customer was allowed to handle a box of beer in "Brewers' Retail" before he bought it. The beer-buying adult would have to go to a counter, and eventually the beer he ordered would come rattling down a conveyor belt.) Unless things have changed very much, the strongest stuff you can buy at the supermarket is Canadian wine, and not all supermarkets carry even that.

This is not to say I did not see any tipsy people in Canada. I talked to one tipsy man who had been filled with beer so he would not suspect he was being taken to his surprise birthday party. And at 10 AM on this past Sunday morning, there were crowds of jubilant and perhaps tipsy young men hooting and cheering in the streets of Toronto because Canada had just won the gold medal in men's Olympic hockey. (The bars had been allowed to open at 7 AM for the occasion of the men's Olympic hockey final. "On a Sunday!" sniffed my mother.)

Frankly, I have lived in Toronto almost my life, and hockey or no, the idea that non-alcoholic Torontonians would get pickled from 7 to 10 in the morning stretches credulity. And I couldn't say for certain that the hockey fans were tipsy because, you know, ice hockey is one of the few things that actually inspires Canadians to rush outside and bounce up and down and honk car horns and stand in front of streetcars. No alcohol needed.

"I thought you'd be legless," said a member of the Men's Schola over the phone the previous Friday night. (I had telephoned during B.A.'s bachelors' supper to remind them all that B.A. is not actually a bachelor.) "What with Canada winning the gold."

"Men or women?" I said.

"Both of them!" wailed the Scot.

The men hadn't won yet, so I was confused.

"What sport are you talking about?" I asked.


Oh, Scotland. I love you, but you do drink too much. And I'm sorry you lost at curling because because although apparently the Atlantic provinces love the game, Toronto couldn't give a hoot. (Naturally we'll accept a share in the gold medals.)

Update: In my outrage that one of the drunken women on the bus (both of whom saved everyone a lot of time and money by pleading guilty to disturbing the peace) called the Polish female ex-bouncer "You Jew", I completely forgot that one of the women had threatened me. I wish I had found this in time to tell the officer who questioned me this morning:

"And you," screamed one of the women, deciding to turn her ire on me as well. "Ah'll melt ye, ye fat cow with yoor fat hay-re and yoor fat....your fat heid... and ah'll remember ye. Ah'll see ye! Aye, ah will!" (July 1, 2011)

The CCTV does not pick up voices, so it does not pick up threats of bodily harm. Not that I thought the woman would be capable of remembering anything.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Back in Embra

Here I am home in Edinburgh, and it is SPRING!

That said, I have wicked jet lag.

My four weeks in Canada were truly wonderful. I saw all my family, I saw a bunch of friends, I sold some books, I did some interviews, I bought some stuff, I received some gifts, I lost some weight, I practised Pilates, I heard two Novus Ordo Masses and two Usus Antiquior Masses, I heard my brother's piano concert, I wrote some articles, I got some fan mail, I marvelled at the pretty snow.

It's easy to marvel at pretty snow when you know you aren't going to see any again for months and months.

Packing for my return was very stressful. In the end it came to how many clothes and how many books I'd have to leave behind. It was a lesson in what I really love, and apparently I really love my massive Polish dictionary. I also really love the painting I bought at my brother's concert; I wrapped it in four layers of bubble wrap and one layer of newsprint and moved most of the books in my suitcase to my carry-on, granny's shopping bag so that if my suitcase was laid on its tummy, only clothes would press against the painting.

This meant I had to schlep 20.6 pounds of books and laptop! And I had to smile the whole time so no suspicious airport person would whisk the shopping bag from me and weigh it: "You are 0.6 pounds overweight, Comrade. You must give up your Polish dictionary." "No, no! Take my shoes instead!"

But I managed to get home with everything I packed, and I have given B.A. his presents, and there are fairy lights glowing in the hearth (open flame forbidden at the Historical House), and I will shortly dip into Cheryl Mendelson's housekeeping bible, Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House. I am going to spend Lent becoming a better housekeeper.

By the way, I need Aged P to phone and remind us when she is coming in June, so B.A. can tell his boss which week he wants off for the cottage. Hint, hint, Aged P.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Report on Crux Book Launch

Thirty-one people (including two under-fives, but not the two sales staff and me) attended the Crux Books launch for Ceremony of Innocence at the University of Toronto. To my joy, the manager provided cookies alongside the coffee and tea, which made the launch extra-hospitable for the folks who had braved the icy wind and pavements to get there.

It was so amazing to look around the room and see people from different gangs: my old prom date, the poets, Les Girls (one of them with her husband and infant sons in tow, and another having brought six of her friends), three super-supportive professors, Seraphic Singles readers,Crux fans, my publisher at Novalis, a new devotee of Bernard Lonergan who had been encouraged to come, my brother Quadrophonic and my MUM.

It was also great to read from my book and answer questions because I really do love to stand in front of an audience and read my stuff to them. I also enjoy taking questions and making people laugh. I will be living off this book launch for a long time!

Here's a link to the Crux interview with me. For the theologians, where it says I said "remorse is prevenient to Grace," what I must have meant is that you have to repent of your mortal sins before your soul can be returned to a state of grace. Naturally Grace is what prompts you to feel remorse in the first place, so in that sense, Grace is prevenient to remorse. And as Grace is free, we should feel blessed when we DO feel remorse for our sins because it's terrible when that Grace is withheld and we don't repent. Eek!

Oh, and the lectures in Krakow this May will be mostly in English, simultaneously translated into Polish by a professional translator.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Report on Party

My friend and former prom date Fishie became a publicist when he grew up, and so threw me a party at his place in North York on Saturday night. The pavements were slick with ice, and the invitations were the PR equivalent of last minute, so we were happy that a dozen or more people turned up, some of them with rather impressive Canadian Catholic lay jobs: editor of a Catholic paper, communications worker for a diocese, attaché to a pro-life think tank, director of an organization that trains pro-life leaders of the future... And these were younger-than-us women and, I discovered, your fellow Seraphic Singles readers! How awesome! So many of you have such neat jobs. It makes me wonder why I don't have a neat job! (Maybe it is the being my own boss thing. Oh, and moving to Scotland. Well, mustn't grumble: I have B.A.)

One non-reader was a lovely nutritionist, who took a searching look at me when I said I had drastically reduced sugar in my diet, and pronounced me "estromorphic." I didn't know what that meant, but it sounded good. Apparently it means I am rounded instead of angular. And now I am going to drastically reduce wheat, too. (Actually, I have stopped eating bread, so I already have.) Note I'm saying "reduce". Birthday cake is still okay, especially when made by my mum.

Anyway, I read the party the description of the Mass with the Krishna-inspired liturgical dance, which led to an interesting talk with two Indian Catholic women I met. As I suspected, Roman Catholics in India by and large give sacred pagan temple dancing a miss, although some dance-enthusiasts do attempt to baptize it and dance it for Our Lord Jesus Christ. At present I am not sure that any dance is suitable for Christian worship, but I will have to think about this for a few decades more, I think. Like Praise and Worship music, some forms might be okay, but I think they should be part of devotions performed OUTSIDE Mass. One of the sad things that happened in the wake of Vatican II is that many devotions fell into disuse, and people just use Mass for everything, sometimes including house blessings, if the poor tired priest is bullied into Mass-around-the-coffee-table.

At this point Canadian readers are aghast and saying "You read that part in front of two Indian ladies?" And I respond, "Yeah. Because that was the part I planned to read, and it would have been insulting not to read it just because they walked in. Nobody, no matter where they come from, is made of glass that will shatter because I have an unsympathetic character from their ethnic group. Meanwhile, a great conversation came out of it."

The amusing thing, however, is that I decided I was way too chicken to read it at today's book launch at Wycliffe at the Toronto School of Theology because some of my (white) friends and professors there love interreligious dialogue and liturgical shenanigans, and they would be sad. They might even wonder if I had deliberately planned to provoke them. So I decided to read the Mass bit at the party, and something else today.

There were questions, and there was a great one about the central point of the novel. I put so much stuff in the novel--including a kitchen sink--that I had to think about it. But I decided that the central theme of the novel, the real conflict, the point to take away, is the importance of having a sense of sin. One of the things my controversial heroine Catriona has going for her is her sense of sin. Other than her blind spots about 1. Dennis and 2. her age, Catriona is most definitely rooted in reality. Still, she's a lot more cynical than I am, as I was quick to assure Deacon Pedro at Salt + Light. And for the record, when I was in Germany, I was not living in sin with a Cardinal's great-nephew. I was chastely tucked up in a single bed in the guest floor of a seminary, and when a naughty seminarian said at 1 AM, "Come and see my room!" I said "Nein, danke."

P.S. Happy birthday to Quadrophonic!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Salt & Light Radio Interview

My radio interview with Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann was really enjoyable, and you can hear it today (Saturday, February 22) on the following stations:

On the Catholic Channel (Sirius XM 129)
Saturday at 3 and 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific and Sunday 2pm ET, 11am PT.

On the Spirit Catholic Radio Network (Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa)
Saturday at 10:00am and 9:00pm CENTRAL

On Holy Family Radio WJTA 88.9FM (Northeastern Ohio)
Saturday, 1pm

Available for streaming or download at
On Saturday at noon Eastern.

I think you'll find it fun to listen in. It's only 10-15 minutes long, and starts with the provocative question of "How is Ceremony of Innocence a Catholic novel?!"

Friday, 21 February 2014

Shopping and Being a Non-Combatant

Girls. The shopping. Most of it is window, admittedly, but the shopping. When did I become a shopper, eh? I mean in real shops, not in Edinburgh's smorgasbord of charity secondhand goods shops. Since arriving in Canada for my annual family visit, I have bought:

a painting

a cool notebook

a present for B.A.

a postcard for B.A. (which I didn't send)

a postcard for Polish Pretend Son (which I didn't send)

a three dimensional Easter lamb cake tin

vintage clip earrings

glass candlestick embossed with crucifixion scene which I rescued from ironic hipsters

Quo Vadis in Polish

some used books, two of them online to be delivered to the Historical House

Deborah Gyapong's The Defilersfor my birthday present tablet

lavender essential oil to deter moths

cedar blocks to deter moths

MAC foundation

MAC eyeshadow (just one)

cute black shoes from Value Village ($10)

cool blue-green dress from Value Village ($12)

purse-sized Polish dictionary from Value Village ($2.99)

a Canadian passport ($210--no lie!)

nine copies of my own novel (for which I will be paid back, though)

another present for B.A.

cute case for my new tablet (on sale!)

headphones for my new tablet (cheapest in stock!)

great stationary from The Japanese Paper Place (cheaper than in the UK)

seemingly endless TTC (transit) fares

Dining out would be a killer, but dining has mostly been on coffee and tea, since I have been good and have come home to dinner every night.

I write all this in the hope that B.A. does not have a heart attack. I couldn't care less if some Eavesdropper makes some wisecrack to his computer about women and shopping. Humans are hunter-gatherers, and shopping is hunting and gathering, so to shop is human. If I should chance upon a male friend or acquaintance in the next few weeks who says "Women and shopping!", I will stare at him with feigned greed and shout, "Where's my present?"

This is part of my refusal to active in the war between the sexes. If accused of loving to shop, I will admit that I personally do indeed love to shop. If accused of being over-emotional, I will admit that I personally am over-emotional. If told that my place is in the home, I will admit that I personally love my home and do most of my work there. If told that I have no head for math, I will admit that I personally have no head for math. If told that I am a member of the weaker sex, I will point out that possession of a handgun would render that "weaker" thing irrelevant.

Then I may or may not, depending on the circumstances, point out that although these observations apply to me, they do not apply to all women, or most women or perhaps any woman other than me. (He could always look up gender stats on Google.) The observations might apply to some men I know, even the "weaker" part if you count my young nephews as men. My husband's workplace is, amusingly, also his home. Oh, and now my brother works from home, too. How cool it would be if we could all work from home: people with shops could just live upstairs or behind the shop. Office-workers could all telecommute. People say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Perhaps some day you'll join us, etc.

Men love to joke with, jostle and test each other, so it is not a wild stretch for them to attempt to joke with, jostle and test women, too. Like women who cannot get it into our heads that men are not just like women inside, many men forget that women are not just like men inside. It's not usually flattering, but then it is probably not flattering for men to be treated like a combination bestest girlfriend/ tissue. ("There, there, Seraphic. There, there.") However, sometimes it is flattering, particularly when we do actually want to be "one of the boys", as I certainly did when I was a boxer and when I was the only woman (or one of two) in various systematic theology courses. (Nothing says creepy like a male religious telling you he hopes Father Karl Rahner had a mistress.) And it is quite flattering when Polish Pretend Son tells me that I am a feminist, for this means a young man is actually interested in my 40-something emotional reactions. I admit that I personally am shallow that way.

Unfortunately, I have not thought out a snappy answer to "You're a feminist" yet. It would be easy if, like Reader Sheila, I identified with the feminist movement enough to call myself a feminist: then I would just say "Yeah, so?" However I do not, so it's a toughie. Hmm. Maybe I will try, "No, I'm a Christian", and see how that works.*

*This is now OT, but I want to stop a chorus of voices from pointing out how to be Christian is to be a feminist, or that there are lots of Christian feminists, by saying that when it comes down to the moment one must choose between Christ and feminism, Christians choose Christ. Was Mary Daly a Christian when she died? I fear not.

Thursday, 20 February 2014


A Single reader with a boyfriend sent me this link, thinking it explained her office dynamic. Further questioning revealed that the most recent conversation about her chaste relationship with her boyfriend was mostly just her colleague putting her foot in it, e.g. "So are you and your boyfriend going away for the weekend? Why not? Doesn't he stay over? He doesn't? Why not?"

I don't work in an office, and thank heavens, for offices feature bored female administrative assistants who long to win the lottery and get the heck out. The gossip and tittle-tattle and attempts to divert oneself with the personal lives or emotional reactions of others are just soul-killing. It's one reason why I worked so hard to get into a PhD program; one slip in my grades, I felt, and I'd be back in the file room. (I should state, however, that I have warm memories of the women in the file room of the ODSP, who taught me a lot about humility and getting along with others.)

Young people often lack the calm confidence of the middle-aged, taking refuge in frightened anger or in-your-face bravado when someone treads on your toes. But in the West all kinds of laws have been passed to prevent harassment of women in the workplace, and these apply not only to men but to other women. It is not okay for people at work to give you a hard time about your sexual choices or to pry into your personal life. However, you are still the one primarily responsible for protecting your private life. You can't just call up HR the minute someone says, "So are you and your honey going away for the weekend?"

The way to take such a question, which 90% of the time is just as friendly attempt at passing some time, is lightly and in the spirit it is meant. "Nah, we'll kick back here, maybe see a movie" is an excellent response, and may lead the conversation right to the safe territory of movies.

Of course, 10% of the time, the question will be part of an office lady plot to find out your business, possibly because you have said something imprudent that put you on the "This girl is different" radar. Unless you are self-employed like Saint Paul, making tents beside the stall of your neighbour the spice peddler, mentioning topics like chastity at work is a bad idea. Just mentioning that you have a boyfriend is a bad idea, unless directly asked. But remember that at all times you are allowed to subtly change the subject. Throw your questioner a tidbit: "Yeah. Rob's really into film." If Rob's into film, you can change the subject to film EVERY time anyone asks anything personal. "What are you and Rob doin' tonight?" "Ah, probably watching a film." Make old Rob sound cozy and predictable, and everyone will assume you're "just normal," whatever "just normal" means to them.

Of course, if there is a real problem, with jerks making fun of you and your sexual choice not to have sex, then it may very well be time to go to your manager or Human Resources. Say you don't push your religion on anyone, and you are sick of people pushing their sexual beliefs on you and humiliating you for your choices. Nobody should be sexually harassed at work. Ever. By anyone.

Update: Thanks to the reader who linked to this in the combox. It's pretty good. In fact, when I think about the girls who gave B.A. a hard time for, well, being B.A., not their idea of who B.A. SHOULD be, I also conclude that they were idiots. However, I'm grateful that they WERE idiots, because that meant they left B.A. for me. Yay, them!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Author as Sales Help

Yesterday I bought nine copies of Ceremony of Innocence from Crux, wrapped them lovingly in bubble wrap and stuffed them in a wheeled suitcase. Off I went with my babies, bumpity bumpity bump.

This morning has been largely give over to shameless book promotion, and I will be interviewed by Salt + Light this afternoon, interview to be aired on Saturday. I also wrote this for IP Novels, inspiring myself to call my old high school afterwards. So far the head of English has not called me back, but I live in hope. It would be so cool if literary-minded girls from my Alma Mater showed up at my book launch. Or Mrs C, my favourite English teacher. (Hmm, must check Facebook.)

Networks, girls. Networks! If we want to promote great Catholic literature, and make the world safe for all the budding Chestertons, Goddens and Waughs out there, we have to get out there, meeting authors of all kinds, buying each other's books, promoting each other, seeing and being seen. If you are a published writer, you can't sit back and expect your publisher's sales team to get out big crowds for you. Chances are, they can't. As I say in my IP Novels blog post, it's not just who you know, it's how many you know.

Personally I love to spend the whole day indoors writing happily away, but I realize I have been remiss. Every year when I go home to Edinburgh I sulk and say, "In Catholic Toronto people know me, and in Catholic Krakow people know me, but in the United Kingdom, I'm invisible." Well, who's fault is that, eh? Mine, all mine. I will have to get cracking in future. In fact, I think I will have to start going west to Glasgow and south to London to meet and support and promote other Catholic writers, like the excellent Fiorella de Maria.

Incidentally, I bought Deb Gyapong's The Defilers over my new tablet today. It's about Boston; I'm looking forward to reading it. (Although maybe I should save it for next week's plane--it's a thriller, and I love thrillers on planes.) I'll see if I can recognize my old stomping grounds.

Crux Books is Fantastic

I am totally loving Crux Books at the University of Toronto, and this is not only because it is the only bookshop in Toronto that I know for a fact orders in Ceremony of Innocence. (If there are other bookshops that have made that crucial phone call to Ignatius Press, or to Ignatius Press's Canadian supplier, I am unblissfully unaware of them.)

Crux Books is an interdenominational Christian bookshop at the University of Toronto, and not only does it hire impoverished theology students to work behind the counter, it sells theological books at a discounted rate. (How they turn a profit is a mystery to me.)

Crux is attached to Wycliffe College, which is Evangelical Anglican, but they have books by theologians from all the mainstream denominations for all the mainstream denominations. They are also interested in Christian fiction, and so have a ton of Lewis, Chesterton and Tolkien, plus little me.

Cindy at Crux tells me they take orders and ship out, so if you want to give the Amazon juggernaut a miss and support an independent bookshop, well, Crux is my North American bookshop of choice. Incidentally they also hosted a book launch for Seraphic Singles, which you can order through them, should you have any money left.

Any Christian who went to, or teaches at the University of Toronto, and has penned a book of Christian theology or fiction should mosey on down to Crux Books because when I did upon arriving in Toronto, Cindy got out her calendar and planned me a party. How awesome is that? Utterly. So on Monday, February 24 at four-thirty in the afternoon, I will be reading from Ceremony of Innocence in Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Avenue. The closest subway stop is Museum. (Just cross the street after the Faculty of Music, Queen's Park on your left, and turn right. Trinity College will now be on your right.) I will also tell anecdotes and answer questions and sign books.

Cindy showed me the Reading Room today. It is Victorian Gothic--U of T really went in for Victorian Gothic in the day--with a fireplace and cozy couches and portraits of long-dead Evangelical Anglican ministers staring crossly down. Cindy said she thinks I'll get six to fifteen people, and I declared, "I'm going to get twenty!"

Please let there be no blizzard. But even if there is a blizzard, let my twenty persevere!

If twenty show up, they may give more leverage to my suggestion to Cindy that she organize a Christian Fiction Conference. Hey, my friend Chris and I founded what is now Marquette's Lonergan on the Edge conference; I'm full of great ideas.

Anyway: Crux Books at the University of Toronto. Good thing. Buy your theology texts from them. Show up at their events. Check out their cute cashiers. If you live within hailing distance of Toronto, come on down to my reading. There will be coffee and tea and fellow readers including Aged P aka my mum.

P.S. Fiorella de Maria, whose Do No Harm I very much enjoyed and recommend, has got TEN (10) reviews on for DNH, whereas I have got only SEVEN for CI. Hint, hint.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Non-Combatant in the War Between the Sexes (Preamble)

Warning: general reference to rape.

I hinted earlier that there were ways to hint that you are non-combatants in the war between the sexes. If you are, of course. If you think that there exists to this day an international, all-male conspiracy to keep (or make) women poor and unhappy, Christian fundamentalists high-fiving the Taliban at meetings, then no doubt your conscience tells you to be a combatant. Skip this post.

The older I get, the less frightened I am of men, possibly because the older I get, the less interesting I am to men, save as a potential reader of their manuscripts or baker of cakes. When I was a child, "Never talk to strangers" generally meant "Never talk to strange men" and the primary reason for this was hammered home when gruesome descriptions of gang rape fell into my innocent hands. Sadly, the feminist dictum of "All men are potential rapists" seemed all to true to the scandalized child Seraphic--excepting priests, of course. It would never have occurred to me that a priest could EVER do something like that. If pressed, I imagine I thought priests were a species of angel. Oh how sweet.

In reality, the tiny minority of men who rape are opportunists on the lookout for the weak, so although I am less in danger from these jerks now as a tough-minded, 40-something than I was when I was 15, I will have to watch out when I am a weak old lady. That said, I will be less worried about this tiny minority of sickos as I will be about the kindly state and its willingness to dispatch me with a lethal injection. As any woman with half a brain has noticed, kindly women with a modicum of power and "your best interests at heart" are terrifying.

However, if you are twenty and dead frightened of men and quick to see how they are oppressing you, you have my sympathy. It is very frightening to be sexually attractive to men without knowing how to talk to them properly or discourage them in a way that wins their respect or liking. If it's any consolation, scads of them are dead frightened of you and quick to see how you are oppressing them. How happy I am I shall never be twenty again. (That said, I miss the natural luminosity of twenty-year-old skin and the language-learning power of a twenty-year-old brain. Take care of them.)

If the whole idea of men being scared of you and thinking you are oppressing them blows your minds, google "Men's Rights Movement" and be prepared to get as mad as men get when they see "Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them" T-shirts. When men are mad at women-in-general, they write some really crude and lousy things. However, if you dig through the horse manure, you will find a few objects worth your contemplation, like the problems of alimony and fathers' rights.

One of the projects of Christian life is to see the world as it is. This is incredibly difficult, in part because we all have an Enemy who wants to obscure our vision and encourage us to be as selfish and prideful as we can be. To see the world as it is takes effort and humility and courage. Thus, to see men as they are, without obsessing on what advantages popularity with men (or powerful women) can bring you, takes effort, humility and courage. The same goes for such movements as feminism. Apparently it is brave to say that you are a feminist. I disagree. I think it is much braver to say that you are not a feminist, but a Christian humanist, who takes Christ as your model for the correct relationship between men and women, and between adults and children.

But more on this tomorrow as I have to go to the Passport Office.

Ordain a Laydieee--No, Wait.

I may be the last person in the Western world to see this funny mash-up, but then I'm thirty-nine-double-plus.

Incidentally, you know you're a Catholic Blogger when you automatically mentally substitute "ordain a laydiee" for "Call me maybe." I mean, I saw "Ordain a Lady" before I heard "Call Me Maybe." Obviously I totally disagree with "ordain a lady", but the womyn picked a catchy tune. Have to admit.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Scandal and Perseverance

I had a wonderful Toronto weekend! On Saturday night I met my poet pal Clara for beer, read parts of her rather occult (!) new book, and went dancing at a Goth club, which I had not done in a year. I got home after 2 AM but was up again by 9 AM so as to be driven by an old friend--my prom date, in fact!--to Solemn High Mass at the Toronto Oratorians' Holy Family Church.

I had not been at the Extraordinary Form (or TLM, for short) since I arrived in Canada, and it was like running water to the panting deer. There were three priests at the altar and a men's schola (including Dominicans) plus organ behind me in the organ loft, and it was positively mesmerizing. I began to think I should have gone to confession beforehand, la la la. Was there still a priest behind me in the box? Oh there was. Hmm.... La, la, la. A priest in the sanctuary began to sing the Epistle. Oh, so beautiful!

Aaaagh! Conscience pricked by beauty, I click-clicked down the side aisle to the box and cast myself on my knees in the compartment of the box with the green light. The last time I was in that box I was given a hard time for not going to confession often enough. However, I would admit this again at once to whichever priest addressed me from the middle. I am not good at confession; I lack a proper sense of sin. I am an arrogant worm. Wah! I suck.

And five minutes later I was out of the box, and the schola was still singing the gradual, and my soul was clean and happy, and Mass was AWESOME.

And during Mass I meditated on the subject of scandal, and now-married women who had lived with their boyfriends, and naturally don't want to be thought ill of for their sins (who does?), versus Single women who so terribly want to find love but dread that they will have to sin to do it.

The fact is that we are all sinners. This is not a world of people who sin very rarely because there are so few sins, and those who commit those few sins (like rape) are irredeemable monsters. This is a world of sinners who sin all the time because we are fallen, and there are so many sins, and the world encourages those sins, either by making sin look glamorous ("This cake is sinfully good!") or by insisting that sin is not sin at all. For example, making out with a guy whom you do not intend to marry is a sin, however serious or venal a sin that might be. Don't marry the man if you don't want to. But do go to confession.

This reminds me that I got an email recently from a guy who was invited by a girl--a NCG, he believed--to make out with her, and then shortly thereafter, she dumped him. She wanted more experience before she settled down, blah blah blah. He had been a perfect gentleman, being chaste and not initiating couch snogging sessions, which had worried this girl, even though she was not actually in love with our Eavesdropper. (Eavesdroppers, though Eavesdroppers, are still OUR Eavesdroppers.) Well, excuse me, but her suggestion that they make out, when her intentions proved not to be honourable, was sinful. She used our Eavesdropper for thrills, or made out with him as a kind of test drive, and that was bad behaviour. Not only did she owe him an apology, she owed one to our Lord and Saviour.

Incidentally, I know some readers think I am out to lunch on the doctrine of "making out is a sin" which is why I bring it up yet again. When I was twenty, I agonized over "How far can we go?" and no priest actually said. Life experience leads me to think "how far can we go" for Singles means a brief and chaste kiss-on-the-lips. And, yes, making out with an attractive man you have a crush on is one of the most intoxicating things on earth, sweeter than wine. But too bad. Fiancés (the REAL kind, with a wedding date) and husbands only. Meanwhile I know a girl who didn't kiss her fiancé on the lips until they were actually married. (His idea.)

And what dread punishment will fall upon you in this life if you make out regardless? Very likely--NOTHING. Zip. Zero. Nada. The problem with chastity education which harps on all the horrible things that can happen to you if you just go ahead and commit sexual sins is that the horrible things do not always happen. You go to college in fear and trembling for "the girls who do" and--surprise--they all seem happy and confident. Some of them are faking their happiness and confidence, of course, but others are not. Some of them are shallow, sure. But some of them are deep. Some of them ponder for a day or weeks or even months if they should sleep with their suitor Such-and-Such, and contemplate if he is "responsible" and take all "responsible" precautions, and initiate a sexual relationship with him, and eventually move in with him, and marry him five years later, maybe in church, and have his baby two years later. Everyone is happy, and nobody--certainly not me--doubts that this family is a pillar of the community and the hope of the future.

"Well!" our sheltered Catholic girl might think. "I have been lied to by my chastity educators! Sod this for a lark, I am getting drunk and letting nature take its course."

WHAM! She gets pregnant. Or an STD. Or a broken heart. Or PTSD after a string of badly-thought out sexual relationships leave her a wreck. Because too many sheltered Catholic girls are all-or-nothing kind of people, unlike their often more sensible if invincibly ignorant non-Catholic friends, who at least think very hard and discuss it with their mother or best friends before they jump in the sack, at least for their first sexual relationship. Because God allows bad things to happen to some and not to others. And this is why it is absolutely terrible for married-or-partnered women to reveal their sexual sins without a trace of remorse. They are a scandal to their weaker sisters, and by weaker I do not mean morally weaker, but the socially weaker vulnerable Single women.

Sin is not always punished in this life; there is this place called hell, or if that is too awful to contemplate right now, this place called Purgatory. Sure, there is sacramental confession, thanks be to God, but it only works if you are SORRY for your sins, and actually recognize that your sins are sins. So the repentant Magdalene weeping in the confessional may actually have the advantage over the blissfully ignorant and happy equivalent-to-married mother of three. And, as we read in Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, feeling repentant for the sins that conceive your beloved out-of-wedlock children is a problem.

I'm not writing this to beat up on sexual sinners, especially as I am one myself, as I imagine so are most of you, if only in a venial way. Among my friends is a happy-go-lucky gay guy, and my imagination just does not go through THAT door. I don't "judge" him--though if he ever were to asked me what I thought of Sin X or Sin Y, I would certainly tell him--I just pray for him, the dear man.

No, I'm writing this to suggest that sexual sinners who, thanks to God's mercy, don't suffer any adverse affects in this life from our sins not spread this news to vulnerable, innocent, virgin women who are terribly, TERRIBLY tempted to give into their sexual desires, in part because sexual desire is one of the strongest forces on earth, and in part because they are told they will "never get a boyfriend" or "never get married" unless they do. Reflecting comfortably on sexual sin, past or present, from a position of social strength--e.g. a great, loving, marital relationship--is a scandal, a stumbling block, to Single women. It can really hurt them.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

S. Faustino Day Reflections

Apparently in Italy today is a special day for Singles. I'm hoping that means chaste Singles, not the players who remain Single so as to sexually exploit as many other Singles as possible. (Incidentally, poor little Cupid!)

I spent yesterday A) at the passport office B) having a pedicure with a married friend and C)at the Seraphic Singles Toronto V-Day Meeting. Seven other ladies turned up; thank you, ladies! We sat in the café and chatted for two hours; next year I'm booking a table at a restaurant.

The passport office revealed no insights about Valentine's Day or Single life, although it revealed that my application was invalid because my signature touched the borders of the signature box. So I will be back at the passport office next week. Boo.

The pedicure revealed more truths about married-with-babies life. For example, a really great Valentine's Day gift a man can give his homemaker wife is permission to hire a babysitter for three hours so that she can go out and have a pedicure with her pal. Whoo-hoo! And the pedicure also revealed that the world is insane, for as I sat in the massage chair and had all that nasty boot-stained skin sloughed off my heels, I read in Elle magazine of a writer's panic when her daughter declared that she would not drink in high school. Without alcohol, worried the writer, how would her daughter ever have sex?

I had to blink. I wanted to shout, "What kind of mother ARE you?" at the magazine, but I was too shocked. Maybe I am really out of it, but is wanting your teenage daughter to drink so that she can force herself to have sex with teenage boys a thing now?

I brought this question to the meeting, and one reader revealed that she has a friend--an adult friend, a skilled professional--who hits the bottle so that she will be able to have sex with her dates.

"If she has to drink to force herself to have sex with her dates, why does she have sex with them?" I asked.

"She thinks she has to," said the reader.

She thinks she has to because the new "common sense" is that no man will marry you unless you have sex with him first. This is, of course, the exact opposite of what all women were told until my lifetime, which was that no man will marry you if you DO have sex with him first. It's even in Shakespeare, in Ophelia's song about St. Valentine's Day.

The younger of the chaste Single ladies listened to this with obvious dread and told stories about how those friends who are now getting married, at age 27, 28, 29, have been living with their boyfriends for years. The implication seemed to be that these women were getting married BECAUSE they had agreed to live in sexually active relationships for years. But I disagree. I think these women delayed their wedding day for years because they were okay with it--or said they were.

We women hear so often that we have no power of our own, and that we have to seize the kinds of power that men technically have. Grrl Power doesn't mean turning heads with a pretty dress or delicious perfume, or winning hearts with gentle, kindly actions, but with arresting attention with a loud voice, jarring clothes, a scowling face, violent fists, drunken bravado, or barbaric, vulgar actions, like exposing one's breasts to shock and mock men's primary weakness. We lose sight of the fact that we do have power, not just over men's sexual instincts, but over their hearts. We have the power to wound, and not understanding this, wound we do.

Men fall in love, and when they fall in love they are respectful of the wishes of the women they love because they want the women to love them back. Unless they have very strong religious views about chastity and self-control, they welcome the opportunity to have sexual relations because sexual relations make them feel good, but not at the cost of losing the women they love. "I don't want to put pressure on you," is a standard male line, but the ones in love really mean it. In truly loving relationships, it is the woman who calls the sexual shots. Catholic girls who are having sex with their boyfriends and fiancés (or "fiancés") have chosen to do so. They have chosen to live in an unstable para-marital union instead of saying "I love you with all my heart, and I think we should reserve sex and living together for Christian marriage." And the men, either happily or guiltily, have gone along with it.

That is why the idea of women drinking so that they can force themselves to have sex with men is so damned tragic. It is wrong on so many levels. What man would feel flattered by a woman thinks she has to give her body to him and yet is so unenthusiastic about the prospect that she gets drunk first? His feelings are not likely to be affection or even gratitude but disappointment and contempt. But unless his conscience overrides his sexual impulses, sure, he'll "hit it".

I used to be a boxer, and I was really strong for a woman. I was feisty and brave and a crazy woman terrorizing a shopkeeper backed off when I looked at her because I was ready to pound her to the ground and she knew it. But this power was miniscule to the power I have in relation to the men in my life. And this is not power over, mind you. This is power FOR. Power should never be OVER other people, but FOR other people. But I think that's a topic that deserves a whole post for itself.

Any more Operation Valentinus stories to relate?

Polish Pretend Son Pontificates

Said Polish Pretend Son to my hopes that his adoring fans have sent him tributes:

"Any interest I might have had in the Valentine's Day ended around high school. I do not care for it at all, for it is a silly Western tradition, foreign to the Polish culture, celebrating the most vulgar female instincts, and resulting in pathetic mass male stupefaction."

Naturally I was asked at today's Seraphic Singles Toronto V-Day Meeting if I would ever recommend Polish Pretend Son to any of my friends and readers.

I said that would depend on the girl.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Saint Valentine's Day, Readers!

Happy Saint Valentine's Day to my beloved army of readers, Single, married and consecrated! Valentine's greetings also to the Eavesdroppers who, as they persist in reading my girly-girl blog, must be in love with me. I send virtual chocolate to all the girls, and I kiss all the Eavesdroppers in the middle of their foreheads.

For as much as we complain about the red, white and pink, the tender sentiments and expectations they suggest beat the sex-without-strings cynicism growing in the West. Although I am flippant about boyfriends-and-girlfriends stuff, I believe in men and women taking care of, and being careful for, each other in dozens of ways, beginning with the way we all dress in public. (Incidentally, I'm not just talking about modesty here; I'm talking about presenting an attractive appearance.) As you know, I don't think marriage-minded Single women should ever do household tasks for unrelated Single men or deliberately court them with baking. There are better ways to show that you, personally, are not interested in prolonging the war between the sexes.

That sounds like a subject for my next post.

Actually, in that spirit, this may be the one day of the year that I feel you might bake cookies for boys, as long as you share the cookies with everybody, not just Mr Cute. I very much feel that Valentine's Day should be one of those days in which you give (something small) without expecting anything back except thanks. That way, if you do get anything, from anyone, you will be surprised and pleased. For example, I hid B.A.'s valentine and gift in the Historical House before I left for Canada, not saying anything about it. And to my surprise and pleasure, I discovered when I got home last night that B.A. had contrived to send me a funny homemade card containing a snowdrop.

A snowdrop! YAY! Because the essence of romance is not STUFF, not pricey goods, but shared jokes and rituals. That's what we're talking about, Eavesdroppers. Not STUFF. Not your wallets. Not slavery to our moods. Just a loving gesture to remind us why we like, or fell in love, with you in the first place.*

Meanwhile, a final reminder that the Ladies-only Seraphic Singles Toronto Valentine's Meet-up is today at five-thirty until about seven-thirty at the same place I've been telling people on request. If you went last year, it's at the same place. If you suddenly can go but don't know where it is, send me an email this morning. (I won't be able to check my email later, so ask now.) It's completely inter-faith and ecumenical, by the way, so don't expect all the other gals to be Catholic. We may be excitingly diverse!

*That is, if we are balanced, generous, sensible women. I admit that women are not perfect and some of us do indeed get overwrought on Valentine's Day and some of us are not actually in love with you which is why we are dissatisfied with ANYTHING you do. And I am truly sorry for that. If small and thoughtful doesn't cut it, then there may be something wrong and it is time for a serious conversation involving a lot of listening and clarification. Sometimes women are in the wrong, and yes it hurt to admit that.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Preparing for V Day

Is it me, or is there less emphasis on Valentine's Day now? I avoid malls and newspapers, so maybe I'm just out of it, but Valentine's Day is not impinging very much on my consciousness. It could also be because I am married, of course. Eventually we married folks go deaf and blind to the issues that bedevil Singles.

That said, I know there are married women who put a lot of emphasis on Valentine's Day, which I think is a mistake. When you have a wedding anniversary to get mad at your husband about, why sweat V-Day? "Valentine's Day is for engaged people," I pontificated to a married friend, but of course it is also for boyfriends and girlfriends. The main problem with finding the coolest Valentine's Day gift for your boyfriend, though, is that you are SOOO tempted to give the same thing to your next boyfriend. Not that I know anything about THAT.

For a happily married woman, I am very cynical about romance. The romances of my past life that I remember most fondly are the totally and absolutely unrequited ones, like the crush on such-and-such and the crush on so-and-so, and the crush this absolutely adorable Polish boy had on me that I didn't know how to handle as we were only six and he didn't speak English. Now that I speak some Polish and he speaks much English, we're both married to other people. Life is like that.

Where was I? Oh, V-Day. Every cynic is a disappointed idealist, and as a child I somehow developed an idea that Valentine's Day was magic and through this magic an Anonymous Admirer might send me a Valentine. I don't think this ever happened, but I still loved Valentine's Day, with its red and pink, white lace and Victoriana and its hints of chocolates to come. This may partly because deep down I just really loved red, pink, white lace and Victoriana, and my mother had a strict no-candy-on-ordinary-days policy. But it was also because ROMANTIC LOVE was shoved at me as the GREATEST THING ON EARTH by most of the books I ever read. Lucy Maud Montgomery was a TERRIBLE influence in this regard, as were all books about orphans. The only author in all of Victorian children's literature who ever hinted that being a single lady could be marvellous was Louisa May Alcott who, forced by her readers to marry off Jo March, refused to marry off all Jo March's nieces. The greatest love of LMA's life was her dad.

Deep down I still love Valentine's Day, which is why I think Singles and Married Ladies should celebrate it like little kids, sending Valentines and chocolates to their friends and relatives. And by the way I don't want to hear any modern Bollandist rubbish about St. Valentine not existing because I saw his skull in church in the Rhine Valley and when I said "But the Bollandists", the German priest and seminarian I was drinking with metaphorically danced on my own skull. St. Valentine, a Catholic cleric of the Classical eaa, would have been big on affection but rather down on sexual passion. So really Valentine's Day should be about affection, not the sturm und drang of passion, anyway.

And so I recommend that tomorrow, if there's any chance you are going to feel melancholy, either because there is neither husband nor living embodiment of acute sexual temptation (aka a boyfriend) in your life, or because you suspect your husband is going to bring you a bunch of subway roses and then fall asleep right after dinner, you do something affectionate for the people you hold in most affection, without expecting (but certainly welcoming) anything in return.

In past years readers have reported throwing candy-fueled girl-only parties, sending off cards and chocolates to fellow Singles, visiting grandparents and even (my favourite) secretly decorating the house
of her grandmother with hearts, so that she would be delightfully surprised by it in the morning.

Increasingly I have thought about married women feeling let down by the day. I don't think men, even married men, get how much some married women really do long for some thoughtful symbolic token of affection from their husbands on Valentine's Day and feel so disappointed when they don't get one. I'm too old and confident to feel lonely, old, rejected and taken for granted, but I can understand how young wives might feel this way, poor darlings.

Oh, and if you do feel sad despite all your gifts to others, it would be nice if you offered up your feelings of sadness for other lonely people, maybe recent widows in particular, or bereaved mothers. Giving doesn't have to cost money, not even the pennies and stamp it would cost to send a homemade Valentine to Gran.

A Day at the Art Gallery

Hello, poppets! I had a marvellous day. First I met Seraphic Single Trish for brunch, and then we went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the special exhibition of paintings from the Guggenheim. At lunch time I was interviewed by wonderful Heather from Crux Discount Theological Books, my favourite bookshop in all of Canada, beside a vegan café guarded by a painting of Our Lady. Then I went back to visit my favourite paintings in the permanent collection. And finally I had coffee with Reader M and talked a lot about Ceremony of Innocence again.

Two events coming up: 1. The Seraphic Singles Toronto V-Day Get-Together on February 14, 5:30 to 7:30. (Location information granted to ladies on request!)
and 2. The U of T Ceremony of Innocence launch at Crux Books, 5 Hoskins Ave, on February 24, 4:30. More on that anon.

Meanwhile, here is my latest post at IP Novels. Now I am just going out to decode Polish Pretend Son's Polish letter and may be some time. (Points to the girl who gets the tragic reference.)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Handsome Wedding Guest Story

At the risk of him finding out, I have to tell you about the Handsome Wedding Guest. I may have mentioned him before--as in six years ago or so. The Wedding in question was that of my brother Nulli and Ma Belle Soeur. The Handsome Wedding Guest was a Single, Male, Catholic Uniate (whether Uki, Maronite or other, I'm not going to tell you for then all my brother's friends will guess), Doctor--tall, handsome, charming, you name it. In short, a matrimonial prize in the old-fashioned, grasping, Mrs Bennet sense of the word.

The Handsome Wedding Guest was assigned to sit at a table of Single women, which was nice for him and for us, though he soon singled out a glamorous francophone for his attentions, leaving us anglo girls in the dust. Boo. It did't even work out with the glamorous French-speaking girl, so what a waste, sigh, sigh.

The whole point to this story, however, is that he is getting married this summer, six (or is it seven?) years later, after having been Highly Eligible for Years and Years, only not having found the Right Girl until recently.

In contrast, at least two of the Single women who gazed admiringly upon him over the table are already married.

His fiancee is very pretty and very nice, belonging to his exact same ethnic group, etc., and I presume they share core values.

So all I can say is that if such a handsome and eligible man cannot find true love in a hurry, we women should not panic if we haven't found it by our 25th or thirtieth birthday. It is a total myth that we look worse at thirty than we do at twenty-five anyway. It is much easier to be thirty than twenty-five. Our confidence sky-rockets the farther we get from 21, believe you me, and this makes us easier to be around as we become less chippy and defensive. We are also often smarter, not only about other people, but about ourselves.

Sorry I haven't transferred the Operation Valentinus sign-up sheet yet. I am most awfully busy, running around visiting people I can see only once a year, plus promoting my beautiful controversial, alarming book.

Toronto readers who want to meet up on Valentine's Day at five-thirty p.m. should send me an email for the location. There have already been eager inquiries from male fans, and thus there is need for secrecy. I am not in the matchmaking business; I am all about you feeling good about being chaste (or working on being chaste) Singles, not feeling eager to give up this holy freedom ASAP. Therefore, no boys allowed.

Personally, I am still so relieved I was Single when I was thirty-eight, which is when I met my husband B.A. And meanwhile, proving that married love is not the only kind, I must go and spend more time with the rest of my family and my Canadian friends and mentors while I can.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

With Married People With Kids

Well, I have been remiss in blogging, for I have been out and about, taking buses and trains to visit friends and family. I don't know how mommy bloggers do it, for if I had children, I don't think I'd be able to blog. As I was writing in my travel journal today, my three-year-old niece appeared in a pink leotard and tutu and began to dance. Well, who can write under such conditions?

I am a Baby Ballet slave. The Ballet Baby having, apropos of nothing, told me that "Jesus is very nice", I gave her a prayer card with Our Lady of Czestochowa on it. She ran away immediately to put it in a special box containing a miniature melon and a tiny lamb wearing a gingham dress. My heart melted, and my IQ dropped ten points.

Really, babies. A drug. Last week I was in a café designed for art-loving mummies and their babies--very much a place for Mommies who Lunch--and a little Korean-Canadian girl, about one and a half, pointed to me and squeaked, "Emu! Emu!"

"It means 'Aunt'," explained her mother, and I was blown away by the brilliance of this child.

"Yes, I am," I said. "I am an Auntie."

My heart melted, and my IQ dropped ten points.

Of course, in many cultures, an Auntie is any older woman who appears to be friendly with one's parents. This is true, in a moderate way, in English-speaking Canada, too. It's old-fashioned. I'm old-fashioned. And I love being an auntie.

One of the benefits of being an auntie is that it is usually part-time work, and I don't want to insult the small children of the world, but they seem to run their parents ragged. I don't know many mothers with little children in Scotland, so I am struck by how loving yet tired my Canadian friends with children are. Tired and sometimes frustrated. And lonely. The stay-at-home mummies are lonelier than the working mummies. The working mummies get to see other adults and have adult conversations. The stay-at-home mummies really depend on other women taking the time to cross town to see them, or to see them around children's activities. The mummy café on Toronto's Roncesvalles is not just a brilliant idea, it's a true service to the community.

Doting grandparents are extremely helpful. Occasionally grandparents take the kids away--and then some of the parents are vaguely uneasy. Suddenly they want to spend MORE time with their kids... I'm not sure I really understand parents-of-little-kids, really.

At any rate, from listening to stay-at-home mummies I have come to the not so original conclusion that the grass is always greener on the other side. Some stay-at-home mums really want to work, for the sake of money and companionship and their expensive(in time and effort as well as money) educations, but then they don't want to be away from their babies. Other stay-at-homes are fine with staying at home, but would love an extra pair of hands to help out with the endless cleaning. This married, childless aunt is in total thrall to any girl child between the ages of six months and five.

Meanwhile, once again, I find the best cure for the Childless Blues is to go home to Canada and see how the Childfull live. And the Childfull are flatteringly happy to see me. For one thing, I am good for two back-to-back storybook sessions. Last night I carted a wailing child away to a couch where I deposited her on cushions and read her the tale of "Madge the Tickling Midge." I had already read her and her brother "Darth Vader and Son", absolutely straight-faced.

Ah, it's good to be an aunt.


I am in French Canada, and my computer genius brother Nulli has got me back into my blog. Whoo-hoo! So now that I am back, I will try to compose an interesting post SOON!

In the meantime, I will be talking about, and reading from "Ceremony of Innocence" at my favourite Canadian bookstore on Monday, February 24 at 4:30 PM. That's Crux Discount Theological Books at the University of Toronto, tucked in there between Emmanuel College (across the street from Trinity College Chapel) and Hart House.

But before that is the February 14 Seraphic Singles meeting in downtown Toronto at 5:30, and for details on that, please email me.