Monday Update

A: Lots of important things to discuss, so lets skip that (and the *140* draft posts now in my folder here) and talk about something else!

B: Teaching 8th-grade and 9th grade level history classes is pretty much a full-time job. To prep for 6-8 hours of class a week takes me around 20 – 25 hours. Partly this is due to the amount of research I need to do into areas of which I’m ignorant (that would be most areas); partly because I’m reviewing, selecting, and producing handouts from source materials – the kids have been subjected to excerpts from Herodotus, Thucydides, St. Jerome, Chesterton, Belloc, Tacitus – with plenty more to come. Tack on the organizational and planning aspects and – there’s my week.

It’s fun, and the kids are great.

C. You’re dying to hear about progress on the Endless Front Yard Brick Project and Backache Jamboree, aren’t you? I know you are!

Short answer: nothing. Back in the summer, when the evenings were still light, I just couldn’t make myself do it. Started a couple times, but the next step – putting in frames and pouring concrete footings for the final 30′ stretch of wall and planter – just no. Started several times, have a nice pile of 2X4s slowly warping into uselessness out front, but – nope. So now I need a long weekend of nice weather and inspiration, or wait till Spring.

My money is on Spring.

D. This is not to say nothing has happened. Consider:

The sacred shrine to the Oracle of the Water Meter

Back in May, I think, when I finished this oddity up, you can see I transplanted some moss – that’s the little tufts of green. It seemed to have died, and weeds started taking over, so I pulled the weeds except for a few I decided to call ‘dichondra’, which they might actually be, who knows.

Threw some water on them when watering the trees and plants. Now:

Please ignore the former flowers in the planting boxes. It’s October. They died.
The moss came back! And is now in a struggle for its very life with the dichondra.

Kind of cute, huh? Give it a rainy winter, and it’ll take over the world.

E. Speaking of Nature in all its glory and horror: my beloved wife suggested, and I enthusiastically agreed, to plant some morning glories.

Well. I stuck some seeds in the ground in a small patch between the fig and citrus trees, behind the brick bench I put in during phase 3.2(b) of the above mentioned Endless Project. Poor things! Took a long time to come up, only 5 did, and the bugs got right after them. So I started a few inside, just in case. Transplanted them outside in June. We had 7 little plants that made it.

But they didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I stuck a light redwood trellis in the ground for them, by way of encouragements.

It evidently worked:

What may not be apparent from this picture: the sheer massiveness of the plants – the only reason I think the trellis hasn’t snapped is because the vines are now strong enough to hold themselves up. The whole mass is leaning dangerously forward. I have a pole propping it up on the far side, as it looked like it was going to fall that way originally. Word is they die with the first frosts, which here in NoCal tend to happen in December. So it’s going to get bigger.

For the last month, I’ve been waging daily war, snipping morning glory vines trying to strangle the fig and citrus. The next day, there are more vines. I think with a little patience, I could watch them grow. I’ve stopped watering it, which seems to have kicked it into flower-making mode.

So I did a little belated research on morning glories. One consistent warning: once you’ve gotten a batch established, it’s all but impossible to get ride of them – they shed millions of seeds that can last for several years, meaning that, even if you pull up a thousand plants one year, you will probably see more the next anyway.

The seeds, which are about the size, shape and color of rat droppings, are already everywhere.

At least morning glories are very pretty.

F. Speaking of unspeakable horrors, my beloved also planted a bunch of sweet potatoes in three planter in the back and side yards that I wasn’t using this year. The plants have done very well, although in my attempts to locate any sweet potatoes I have found only smallish, skinny ones.

But the leaves are edible! Kind of like spinach, but even milder. Since we have tons of leaves, I googled some recipes.

If you are interested, check out some sweet potato leaf recipes from Africa, specifically, Sierra Leone. YouTube has any number of cheerful Africans whipping up dishes that look, if you skip ahead and only see the end products, delicious.

It’s the steps in between that might cause a little squeamishness. I’m absolutely an omnivorous, and would gird up my culinary loins, as it were, and try this stuff if I came face to face with it. And it would probably be good! But –

A recipe that includes chicken feet, fish heads, leftover chicken parts, stray meat, and other probably best left unidentified ingredients, immersed in *cups* of red palm oil and then boiled until not quite unrecognizable – best just eat and not ask questions.

The funny part: they all refer to this as a potato leaf recipe, when the chopped leaves are added at the end and cook down to a mere background. Meanwhile, that catfish head in there is doing the backstroke….

They cook sweet potato leaves all around the world. Wilted in butter and garlic is quite good, although now I feel like a coward going that route.

G. Yesterday, we drove for hours to do some visiting, and so attended mass far from home – at a parish that’s decided enough’s enough. I will be as vague as possible, since the world is infested with Karens and narcs (but I repeat myself).

What I saw: a few nods in the direction of social distancing – people sat every other pew, sort of, which reduced the number that fit into the church proper down to the technically allowable 100. But the choir loft was also full-ish…

The overflow went into the adjoining hall. There, the folding chairs were maybe a little farther apart than usual.

The priest, citing the teaching of the USCCB, stated that it was simply morally impossible for a Catholic to vote for Biden due to his support for abortion. Whoa.

The most telling part: we got there a half hour early; the people from the proceeding mass were still milling around in the courtyard, chatting and visiting. I saw a total of 4 masks. After our mass, people likewise were visiting.

People are starved for basic human contact. Finally given a chance, they embrace it desperately, like drowning men finding a lifeboat. When we were walking in from the parking lot, never having been there before and knowing no one, a man struck up a conversation with us – just because. While waiting for mass, I was standing in the courtyard while a priest was talking with a small crowd nearby. When finished, he approached me to see if I was waiting to speak to him. I think he gets it.

They have evidently been doing this for a while now, so of course we had to step over the dead bodies in the parking lot and stop out ears to the death rattles of the dying.

Not.

Seriously, if anything, this congregation has acquired the herd immunity we all would have long ago acquired if the lock down had not been implemented to extend the outbreak. They have refused to trade social sanity for the illusion of safety.

H. Oldest daughter just passed 4 months of married life. She and her husband still seem to get along fine. 😉 She just turned 27, got a new job, and broke her finger. Sigh. Poor kid. She and hubby are looking to buy a house.

Kids these days. I’m itching to build them furniture and maybe a pizza oven for their new house! That’s the ticket!!!

Middle son got himself a serious squeeze, the kind he’s flying across the country so that she can meet the family over Thanksgiving. So far, via Face Time, she seems very sweet.

Younger daughter spends her days not dating her coworkers at Costco, who regularly ask her out, and not letting her bosses put her on a career track. A cheerful, hardworking, responsible smart kid – gee, they want to keep her? She’s planning to study languages at some grad school in the Holy Land, where Greek and Hebrew are taught conversationally, and the base language of instruction is French. Because why not? She’s barely conversational in French, so might go back to France for more polishing. She wants to study Scripture in the original languages, and will end up with 5 languages: English, French, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Hebrew is the only one she hasn’t at least got a start on.

Kids these days.

Youngest son was just confirmed in a weird (and holy and wonderful, don’t get me wrong!) outdoor ceremony with the bishop.

Wife is co-running the local 40 Days for Life, the last round of which was ended by the lockup. Now? Masked up and ‘distancing’, we pray.

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

3 thoughts on “Monday Update”

  1. Can I audit your class? ; )

    Ah, jolly old Thick-Sides. For some reason, his Melian Dialogue has always held a particular fascination for me, prolly because of its tragic absurdity.

    I took a Greek History survey in kollej. When we got to the Dialogue and its gruesome conclusion, an Earnest Young Thing suddenly leapt to her feet, wild-eyed and quivering, and sputtered, “But, but, but…the Athenians couldn’t DO that!! How AWEFULL!!!”

    The prof languidly replied, “Sure they could. Who’s gonna stop them?”

    I admit I guffawed under my breath.

    Then, the spring of my third year of law school, I took a rhetoric class (just because) which examined various speeches and declamations out of The Peloponnesian War to study what makes effective oratory. The final involved choosing a speech and arguing its strong or weak points. Perhaps remembering my college experience, perhaps just to be smart-assed, I chose the M.D. I showed how the Melian delegation’s presentation was really a masterpiece of academic public speaking, in that it threw everything the Athenians claimed they were fighting for right back in their own faces clearly, concisely, and cogently. I then went on to opine that, for all this, it was a disaster in the face of the realpolitick of the situation. I concluded that this was an example of the limitations of rhetoric, however well-turned.

    I recall getting an A on the paper, but I also recall some rather grumbly remarks about not getting into the “spirit” of the exercise. Heh.

  2. Hey Joe,

    It’s been way too long. For some reason I stopped getting notifications of new posts a couple months ago, and as a result, thought you had stopped posting. I was about to send an email asking if you were alright, when I thought I’d take a look at your blog, and here you are! Posting away. Looks like I’ve got a lot of posts to catch up on!

    Anyway, glad you’re not dead after all, and it sounds like your family are well too. Praise God!

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