I haven't posted anything in a couple of months now. What have I been doing?
Let's see - most recently, I took part in the Missouri Special Olympics Polar Plunge 2011 at Longview Lake Swimming Beach outside Kansas City. The air temperature was a balmy 41 degrees, and the water was at about 29 degrees. I was, as the announcer so poetically put it, "the dude in the diaper." I costumed myself as the New Year's baby, complete with top hat and a necklace that said "Happy New Year." Got the Golden Plunger prize for best costume, too. There were over 1100 people who dunked themselves in the lake that afternoon, and we raised over $200,000 at last count. All in all, it was a good Saturday afternoon.
I've continued to do the Daily Office throughout this time. It's harder and harder sometimes to find uninterrupted time to do all seven hours, and my practice has become rather fractured as a result. But I soldier on, and hope that at some point my days will stabilize and I can return to a more rhythmic pattern.
I've taken up making prayer beads and rosaries. I prefer to use hand-bent chain segments for the beading, rather than stringing the beads on cord or wire. It's more work, but it settles into a rhythm that is meditative and totally engaging. There are sure to be more prayer beads in my future.
Christmas was good, and the new year is a mixed bag so far. We've been undergoing economic setbacks even as we enjoy the occasional presence of our grand-daughter. She'll be four in April, and every time I see her, I can see a little more growth and maturing. All in all, the lack of some material goods is not a hardship, but helps us focus on the more important, and long-lasting, things in life.
Winter has lingered on, covering us in the Midwest with more snow than I've seen in recent years, except for last year, another season with lots of snow and cold. Anyone who doubts the reality of climate change - what's known as "global warming" - needs to look at the extremes of weather that are settling in on a regular basis. Here's the basic idea - you pump more heat into a system, you not only increase its mean temperature, but you also widen the extremes to which it swings. In other words, you get more storms, bigger storms, with hotter and colder seasonal extremes. I don't think we're going to have many "bland" years for a long, long time.
There's a short list of what has been on my mind these last couple of months. I've tried to stay clear of political commentary, because frankly, I think the whole theater of political combat is bankrupt and worthy of spiraling down the drain. What a waste of good people! There are other, more profitable arenas where I may be able to add to the discussion by commenting - politics isn't one of them.
So - how was your Christmas, and how has your new year gone so far?