Tag Archives: mass

A busy weekend!

Our weekend got an early start when the power went out at my work. Without electrical power, I am useless. No power? Friday afternoon in the summer? Time to hit the bricks.

We had a mini-party going on at our house when I arrived home. Several of Mrs. Poolman’s friends had the afternoon free and decided to start the weekend part early by floating in our pool and working out with some weight lifting — 12-ounce curls in sets of six. Fortunately, one of the “girls” was able to walk home, and one of the others brought her daughter as the DD.

You know what they say, “no pain, no gain.” Neither  pain nor gain were present here Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, we cleaned up around the house and yard and took care of some errands, like a run to the recycling center (See paragraph above.)

I read at 5:30 mass on Saturday evening and that was a busy experience We had a visiting priest who wasn’t totally up to speed on the local protocol. Also, my reading partner was brand new – a recent graduate of the 8th grade who needed a little guidance and support. Really, just a little. She did great. I also had two additional readings thrown my way, without any time to prepare. It was a busy time.

That evening, we went to see “Midnight in Paris,” the Woody Allen movie starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Ever since my trip to Europe earlier this spring, I have been intrigued (Mrs. Poolman would say “obsessed.”) with anything having to do with Paris. So I really wanted to see this movie, even though it was playing in just one theater, all the way across town.

I enjoyed the movie a lot. Mrs. P and our friends enjoyed it also, just not as much as I did. It makes abundant use of the Paris scenery. Mrs. P became a little annoyed because I kept poking her in the arm and saying “There is another place I was!”

Even without the scene-spotting, it is a good movie. Owen Wilson does a great job portraying a very likeable character. You can see the plot synopsis here.

Today is Poolboy’s birthday, but yesterday was his “beach day.” We headed out to Tybee with Writer Princess around 11 am, early enough to get a parking spot. The rest of our group didn’t show up for several hours. It was actually about the time I was starting to feel like toast. We stuck it out a couple more hours and had a good time. One of Poolboy’s old friends is married and has two small children – a girl who is almost one and a four-year old boy. We had a fun-time playing with the kids.

The little girl did enjoy eating sand, however.

"That sand is salty. Yum, yum!"

We have had no reports on the status of diaper changes later in the evening.

They all should be over here shortly. We are taking them out to dinner for the b-day. Should be fun.

Slow weekend and bean soup

After a very busy last couple of weeks and two very busy weekends, I was ready for a a “nothing weekend.” It felt great!

I slept late and then ran a few errands on Saturday. I “read” at 5:30 Mass and then Mrs. Poolman and I enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at a local seafood restaurant that is part of the Paula Deen empire. Got home early and watched the Gators squeak one out against the UT Volunteers in a basketball game I recorded while we were out.

On Sunday, we just hung out around the house and took care of some of the usual weekend chores. I fixed Mrs. P a bacon ‘n egg scramble for brunch. Then I went to work on a ham & navy bean soup for eating sometime later in the week. (The recipe is under the tab at the top of the page.)

Ham and navy bean soup

We had a house full of company two weeks ago, and we had picked up a spiral-cut ham from Sam’s Club for sandwiches, etc. One of the best parts of any ham comes when most of the meat is gone and you just have scraps of meat left on the bone. I have a navy bean and black bean soup recipes that work pretty well – or at least Mrs. P thinks so, and that counts big.

Actually, I started the process on Saturday. I usually boil the meaty ham bone the day before I really want to prepare the soup, and leave it in the refrigerator over night. That way the fat congeals on the surface and can remove it before adding the remaining ingredients.

I finished it off on Sunday afternoon. Mrs. P was so excited she put aside her plans to make chicken marsala for dinner (Or she just didn’t want to mess with it.) and we had the soup for dinner.

We watched some of the Grammies after dinner, and I was reminded how totally out of touch I am with the current music scene. Aside from the old timers, like Bob Dylan, I had barely even heard of most of the nominated artists, let along actually been able to name one of their songs. If I ever make it onto Jeopardy, “Current Pop Music” will not be my strong category.

A good holiday weekend

A four day weekend is always great to rest the body and mind.

We had quiet Thanksgiving yesterday. Rather I should say I had a quiet Thanksgiving. Mrs. Poolman spent 12 hours at the hospital, caring for critically ill babies. I felt pretty good that I got my assigned tasks accomplished, but it doesn’t hold a candle to her productivity of the day.

I started with Thanksgiving Day mass. Monsignor C was quite impressed with the “crowd” at mass and said so. Actually, it was a very nice way to start the day. I saw and talked with several people I know. A brother-sister team of former and current students were the altar servers, and I talked with them. Monsignor C set a perfect tone and preached a good homily. Plus, he kept the whole thing short. We have so much for which to be thankful, it doesn’t hurt to start off the day on the right note.

I spent most of the rest of the day on my own. I cleaned the house, updated and balanced the checkbook and, of course, prepared Thanksgiving dinner.

Unlike most of our holiday meals, this was a small gathering. We had no out-of-town company. Of our friends, everyone was doing their own thing this year. Among family and friends, most of the kids are in their mid to late 20s with jobs, formal or informal “in-laws,” etc. It is very difficult to organize holiday gatherings with multiple family groups.

We had dinner scheduled for 8 p.m. since Mrs. P wasn’t scheduled to be home until 7:30. Writer Princess, Son-in-Law and Poolboy all contributed to the meal and joined us. (Poolboy’s girlfriend “GF” was off in Orlando with her family.) We thought we were going to have one “holiday orphan,” but he got a better offer at the last minute.

I was fairly happy with the way things turned out. Although I cooked only the turkey, green beans and rolls, I still had to coordinate all the other dishes through two ovens. Poolboy made the mashed potatoes. Writer princess fixed the dressing. Mrs. P pre-prepared a squash casserole and an artichoke dip for an appetizer. She also made the gravy when she got home. (I never have gotten the knack of making gravy.) SIL baked pumpkin and pecan pies.

So it was just the five of us until a couple of our friends/neighbors wandered down for dessert. Much quieter than typical Casa Poolman holidays, but very nice all the same.  Most of the rest of the weekend will be devoted to eating leftovers and watching football. Maybe a little shopping thrown in. Should be good!

One small victory

There is light on the horizon. There may be some hope for my CCD class after all.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that this has been a difficult class to get under control. They have been extremely antsy, unfocused and talkative.

I had joked that it was like they were all on ritalin that wore off at 4 pm, and they spent the rest of the afternoon sipping espresso.

Last week, I was out of town and they had a substitute who is one of the parish’s music leaders. I suggested that rather than trying to teach a regular lesson, that she take them over to the church on a “field trip” and introduce them to some music. I figured that would be enough to keep them interested and at least tolerably well behaved. Wrong! Apparently, they were so bad that they left the substitute in tears, and even one of my class mothers came in and yelled at the class.

This week, I had my work cut out for me. I had a plan. I knew I had to start off in control and not let up. I had a helper who roamed the class, putting out any little brush fires that spring up. Freed of having to stop the flow to quiet students having their own side conversations, I I could keep my momentum. It worked.

After an opening prayer, I started the class with a discussion of proper behavior with an emphasis on the third of our three class rules, “Don’t be a jerk.” (The other two are “Show up” and “Participate.”) One of the students actually volunteered that “talking while someone else is talking” constitutes being a jerk. Once we got things rolling, we kept it moving and really didn’t give the kids any opportunity to wander off track. I was able to teach the class and lead some interesting discussions without constantly having to compete for the class’s attention.

My helper was the bomb!

We did have one real eye-opening exchange.

We were discussing the various ways we show reverence and respect in church — actions like genuflecting, blessing ourselves with Holy Water, and so on.

One student told me:

“I’m not sure what to do. My family doesn’t go to church very often, so I really don’t know what kinds of things you are supposed to do there.”

Huh?

Weekly Mass attendance is the goal in the Catholic Church. Actually, it’s the law. But not taking your ten-year-old to Mass enough that he or she knows the common customs is pretty lame. The sad thing is that it’s not the child’s fault.

No rest for the weary

Busy, busy weekend.

Saturday was a race from the time we rolled out until the evening.

–A memorial service for one of our faculty to died in an accident a week ago.

–Rush home to meet the flooring-guy who was coming by to give us an estimate on installing our laminate flooring in the bedrooms.

–Much-needed haircut. Marie, my favorite Hungarian hair stylist, went “home” for a couple of weeks over the holidays and just got back to work. Been lookin’ a bit shaggy.

–Back home to pick up Mrs. Poolman and head over to friend-with-pickup truck to borrow truck. Friend offers to come and help, so Mrs. P stayed to visit with friend’s wife (also Mrs. P’s good friend). We drove to large home improvement store to pick up 1000 sq ft of flooring along with underlayment and transition strips. Deliver flooring to our house and then back to friend’s to exchange him and truck for Mrs. P and my car.

–Quickly change clothes for about the third time today, back into suit and tie and head to church for 530 mass. This was my first assignment back on the schedule as a lector. I did it for several years in the 90s, but dropped out when I was working out of town for a year. I guess I didn’t screw it up too badly, because two nuns came up to me afterwards to extend compliments.

Mrs. Poolman and I were going to go out someplace casual for dinner, but after that day, once we got home, we didn’t want to leave again. Steaks on the grill. Tough life.

It turns out the flooring guy said he and his helper could handle all the installation in a single day. That really screwed up our plans, because we figured it would take at least two or three days. We thought we would be able to shuttle furniture from one room to another between the sessions. Instead, we need to have all four bedrooms mostly clear of furniture and clutter on Wednesday morning. So Sunday was spent finishing the painting in our bedroom and doing a massive clean and move-out of the other bedrooms.

This has been a lot of work, and we aren’t even doing floor installation work. We’ll get back to  normal…eventually.

Need a few more helicopter parents

I went to a “stewardship meeting” at our church earlier this week, and a subject came up that hit home. Essentially, the question was, “How good a job are we doing developing the next generation of Catholics?” If my anecdotal experience is any example, the answer would be “not very good.” However, the problem, as I see it, is not so much at the parish level as it is in the family.

I have heard stories of “helicopter parents” who hover over everything their child does. I wish the parents of my 5th grade CCD students were a little more rotary-winged.  Instead, they are more like remote controls.

It can be frustrating. We have the kids for only about 45-50 effective minutes per week. That is not constitute sufficient volume or repetition to have any kind of meaningful or lasting impact, if there isn’t some spiritual support and development also taking place at home. In too many cases, it is very obvious there is little or none.

This is not a blanket indictment. There are exceptions. However, in general I can see the signs of this vacuum in several ways.

1. I see a few of my kids at mass on weekends with some frequency, but if you toss out that relatively small handful, it is a extremely rare treat to see any of my current or former students there. Regular Sunday mass attendance is not a common practice among my students’ families.

2. In the 5th grade we spend a lot of time talking about the sacraments. In the Catholic Church, most of the kids received the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) in the first or second grade. Their parents SHOULD have been taking them to confession at least a couple times a year since then. When we talk about the sacrament in class, many of my students barely remember the first and last time they received Reconcilation.

In an effort to try to engage parents this year, I created a blog for my class. Each week, I write a few paragraphs describing what we talked about. I told the parents about this in our first introductory meeting and also sent the information home in a “welcome letter” after the first class session. I suggested that it would be a good idea to check it on at least a weekly basis, if for no other reasons, to make sure they are informed of any class schedule changes.

This week we had a class cancellation. Last week ago the county public schools were out on our CCD day for a furlough or planning day of some sort. That night we had only six of our 16 students show up. The following Wednesday (this week) would be Veteran’s Day, another school holiday. So the CCD leaders decided to go ahead and cancel CCD class on that day. We announced it in class, but there were only six students there to hear it. I also posted it prominently on the class blog. In past years, I have personally phoned the parents of each of the students to inform them of the cancellation. This time, I figured that the blog and the Sunday bulletin would cover any who had been missed. How silly of me.

Last night, I ran into one of my friends, who is the father of one of my students, and he chastised me about the class cancellation. Apparently, he packed up his kids and drove them to class, only to find the “class cancelled” sign on the door.

“Poolman, it was on the calendar!”

I bit my tongue to hold back my “snappy retort.”

You don’t send your child to class the week before, so she missed the announcement.

You don’t take your child to Mass on Sunday, so you miss the bulletin.

You don’t check the blog to keep in touch with what we are teaching your child, and so you missed the announcement there.

But it’s my fault you didn’t know of the cancellation.

I guess it is. Sigh.

Married forever, or not

The issue of marriage and divorce seems to be a very delicate subject in Catholic circles. Fortunately for us, Mrs. Poolman and I have been married just once and to each other for 33 years, so we haven’t had to deal with the issue personally. Officially, the Church doesn’t recognize divorce. However, there are plenty of divorced Catholics out there. I see them receiving and distributing the Eucharist at Mass on Sundays. And again, fortunately, I’ve never needed to figure out exactly how that whole annulment thing is supposed to work.

Although, I don’t have personal experience with divorce, I do encounter the issue from time to time. As I mentioned before, I have been teaching 5th grade CCD (religion) classes at our church for the past four years. The 5th grade curriculum deals primarily with the seven sacraments and the Ten Commandments, with a few side excursions towards the Apostles’ Creed, the story of Creation and other material. You would think this would be fairly harmless, vanilla religious material. Mostly that’s true, but….

10-commandmentsOne of the seven sacraments is matrimony and we cover the Church’s teachings on the institution. Also, among the Commandments is that “Thou shalt now commit adultery.”  (“No, young 10-year old, adultery isn’t something that adults do. Or, well, maybe it sometimes is.”)

There is hardly a child there who doesn’t have a friend or a family member affected by a divorce. Some of the students’ parents are divorced themselves. So the challenge is to teach the Church’s views on marriage without seeming to condemn the students’ parents, relatives, family friends, or whomever.

Knowing this can be a touchy issue, I always let the parents know that we will be covering this subject, and ask them to advise me if there is a family situation of which I should be aware. I have already heard from one divorced and remarried mom who is concerned how we would treat marriage and divorce in class. We will talk before we get close to that chapter.

Interestingly, the Gospel this past Sunday was directly on-point to the Church’s position. In Mark 10:2-12 Jesus is asked directly about divorce.

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Not much ambiguity there.

Our pastor was presented with a very teachable moment, but, for whatever reason, decided not to pursue it in his homily (sermon.) Interesting. I wonder what his thinking was.