Funniest Parish Rumor Ever

This morning after Bible study one of the ladies asks me, “What are your degrees in?”

It’s a good question, and one I occasionally have to clarify.   I studied economics and I have a degree in economics are two different things; in my case the former is true but not the latter.  Every now and then an author blurb goes to print without my clearing it, and I cringe at the odd inaccuracies.

So I answered, “I have a BA in international studies, with a not-quite-a-minor in economics.  My master’s degree is in business administration, with the bulk of my coursework in accounting with a little bit of finance.”  Again, I don’t have an accounting degree, though I did graduate with enough upper-level courses to work professionally in accounting.  But I’m not a CPA, which people ask me whenever they hear I studied accounting.

“Oh,” the lady at Bible study says.  “So do you have a PhD in theology?”

Pardon me?  “No.”

“Oh.  Someone said you had a PhD in theology.”

No.  No no no.  “Nope.  Business.  Master’s degree in business, no PhD in anything.”

“Sometimes Father Whippersnapper seems to defer to you during Bible study.”

“That’s because he has a graduate degree in theology, which I do not, but I am more experienced with arguments among non-academics bickering on the internet.”

***

As parish grapevine experiences go, it was more amusing than horrifying, so it worked out.

–> I got to share a little bit of mine and my husband’s conversion stories (answer to the follow-up question of “How come you seem to know so much?”), and I conceded I do write a bit of Catholic non-fiction

More better: I got a few minutes of living vicariously through one of the other Bible study ladies, who overheard the conversation and shared with me about her experience in internal audit and fraud detection, which is one of the coolest things accountants get to do and I’d be totally looking into that if I were looking for an accounting job.

It was a good day.  And to my credit, I read just far enough into Love and Responsibility to know, as any good Junior Moral Theologian who happens to be married should know, the answers to these sex questions over at the Aggie Catholic blog,* which topics I alluded to in the rough cut of my most recent NCRegister post, now up: “What Do Priests Know About Marriage?”  My very smart editor removed the explicit references (which the Aggie post answers succinctly, so you’re set if you have those questions) to keep it PG rated.

*I do not write for the Aggie Catholic blog.  I have been to Texas three times, though, so it’s practically the same, for parish rumor-mill purposes.

File:Young Nun at Prayer by Sergei Gribkov 1852.jpg

Artwork: Young Nun at Prayer by Sergei Gribkov.  I’m not a nun either, in case anyone is asking.

PS: Parents, this is a grown-up blog.  I teach children in regular life, but on the internet I cover adult topics.

Packing Medium

Three kids and I depart tomorrow today for the big trip.  I am not a person who packs light.  I was pretty pleased that two girls and I were able to get more or less all our stuff, carry-on excepted, into one (large) suitcase.  My big packing question is: Would I be annoyed that I had to buy this in France?

For some things I prefer not to pack our own.  Most of our toiletries we’ll purchase on arrival, because I do not need some child’s shampoo saturating everything we own.  That’ll be fine on the return trip, but I am hoping to not see the inside of a French laundromat for a good week or so.  They can bring home the dregs of a bottle of shampoo for a souvenir.

What is killing us on luggage is that the boy is going to camp.  He wanted to see Alps.  After doing all the investigating — and I was this close to taking up learning German — the best option for giving him Maximum Alpine Experience was to send to him to a week of summer camp down in Chamonix.  Everything about that choice is good except the packing list.  The camp people want the kids to bring clothes and spare clothes and more clothes for every day.  Of course they do — who wants to be liable for a dozen freezing-naked underpacked children?

Also, I would be mildly irritated to have to buy a fresh set of camping gear in Europe, and I’m very not interested in having a gear crisis the day camp begins.  Unfortunately, my imagination does not look at a tiny-font packing list and accurately gauge how many cubic feet that will all turn into.  Thus we have a mountain of luggage despite my extremely uncharacteristic efforts to go semi-minimalist otherwise.

Large suitcase with rabbit pillow pet on top.

Two hippos and a rabbit have wormed their way onto the passenger list.

Weirdest thing about this trip: I am having a hard time believing it is real.  That’s odd because I don’t just know lots of people who travel all the time, but also I’ve done this before.  I’ve lived in France twice.  I’m not going someplace exotic to me.  I think it’s that I’ve been so firmly planted in the stay-at-home life for the past two decades, and also that doing this was so completely impossible until so recently; until it actually happens, I don’t think my brain can be fully persuaded that it can happen.

Last night we had a mini bon voyage party, which involved getting bitten by all the mosquitos and then coming home from the river to find my friend surprising me with an icon of St. Raphael.  She didn’t have time to get it blessed on her local orthodox altar, so she proposed that I might want to get it blessed in France.  That would be a serious stretch outside my comfort zone, giving me a double-hit on areas of maximal shyness, but friends do that to you.

Orthodox icon of St. Raphael, who looks like he's surfing on the back of a giant fish.

St. Raphael is the ignored angel in my life (Gabriel and Michael get all the attention, and Gabriel would tell you he’s the overlooked tag-along in that pair), but here’s what my friend pointed out: St. Raphael is the patron of both wayfarers and of healing.

Apt enough, and then if you add in the part about how I need to cram all that luggage into our otherwise right-sized too-small rental car, there’s this: He’s particularly the patron of I Can’t Believe This Is Happening To Me, and also of people launching into big adventures with a terrifying stack of baggage.  At least for once he’s being invoked for good crises and not bad ones.

Blog News You’d Hate To Miss

As Lent winds up, I’d like to let you know about some changes coming to the blog.

Those of you who’ve been reading me since the very beginning know that I’ve gone through a series of transitions as a writer.  I started out as an anonymous homeschool-blogger, just trying to share my experiences and get some practice writing for an audience.  Over the years I’ve been a contributor to other Catholic blogs, magazines, and books, as well as spearheading some projects of my own.

Variety and change are the name of the game.

With that in mind, and having had a week to reflect after the refreshing and fruitful retreat I took last weekend, now seems like the perfect day to share the changes you may see here.  What to look for in the future:

More Hands-On Experience.  Maybe it’s the coloring book rubbing off on me, maybe it’s all the art I post, but something’s having an effect.  From here on out, this is going to be primarily a craft blog.  I envision the bulk of the projects involving hot glue and day-glo pom poms.

Pom-Pom photo by Mvolz (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.  This is roughly what we’re going for, only with colors that are a little more searing.  These, glued to things.  Everything.

More Pop Culture.  Reader, you know how important evangelization is to me.  And every writer (myself excepted) seems to feel that the secret to evangelization is immersing oneself in the interests of the persons being evangelized.  I’m ready to take that advice.  For religious purposes, therefore, from now on when I’m not crafting, I’ll be keeping you updated on celebrity news, the NFL, and How The Gamecocks are Doing This Season.

We’ll continue talking about the weather, too, but that’s not a big change.

Less Depressing Arguing Stuff.   It took a lot of memes to get this through my head, but listen guys: Opinions on weighty matters are out of here like last year.  Giving a reason for your hope?  Some reasons are more equal than others, you know.  We’re going to focus on inspiring quotes from Anonymous. Where possible, I’ll provide an attribution to St. Francis of Assisi.  He probably said something like that anyway.

Same Great Sacred Art, Updated.  You already know I’m not much of a traditionalist — if it’s true, beautiful, good, and approved by the Church, I can work with it, new or old.  With that in mind, I’ll be sharing a lot more music videos.  Trap Masses, primarily.

As for Caravaggio?  Of course I’d never let that go.  But from now on, it’ll be all the great works of antiquity forward, but re-interpreted in the style of “Family Circus.”

You’re gonna love it.

Look for these great new blog experiences as often as once a year!

The Physiology of Fasting and other Penitential Links

Link #1 The Physiology of Fasting

Late last Lent an Orthodox friend and I were whining about how much we hate fasting.  There are people in this world who don’t have much appetite, and he and I are not those people.  Furthermore, at his parish he knows these guys who fast for days and days during Holy Week, and hold up just fine.  We’re not talking St. Starvicus of the Empty, Empty Desert who lived on a weekly mouthful of bitter herbs in the second century. We’re talking about flesh-and-blood normal guys with day jobs in modern America.

How do they do it?  We had a number of theories, and mine were all wrong.

Not too long into Easter (happy happy feast feast) I stumbled on a website run by a physician whose practice includes overseeing a lot of clients who fast extensively for health reasons (primarily in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, as it happens).  Dr. Jason Fung is a normal (secular, slightly potty-mouthed) Canadian-guy MD with normal-people clients and a lot to say on how fasting affects your body, and why our non-eating Orthodox friends are experiencing something radically different when they fast than that misery you feel on Ash Wednesday when you eat one regular meal and two small snacks.

–> I have no opinion on whether or how you should fast, other than that you should mind the Precepts of the Church and also common sense regarding your own health and state of life.  But if you are bored, here’s a site with the answer to the question of What’s with those people who don’t eat for days on end?

Here’s the archives of the entire “Fasting” category on his website.

Here’s page 1, if you want to start at the beginning.

I mention it now during Advent because if you want to run pre-Lent experiments on yourself, now’s the time.

Link #2 Vader Did You Know?

A profound thank you to Jane Lebak for sharing this link.  Sometimes a song is so bad that the only good use for it is turning it into a Star Wars plot summary.

#3: Not a link, just a PSA

Dear Adults Who Edit Hymnals,

Did you know that young people are linguistically competent?  You might have noticed the way they are constantly making up words and phrases that confound you to pieces.  This is because they are able to learn languages, even English.

Therefore, it is not necessary to wipe every use of the word “Thou” from your hymnal.  People under the age of 150 are able to learn new words, just like people in previous eras were able to learn new words like “telegraph” and “wireless” and eventually even “social security check.”

Also, you look very stupid when you “fix” a hymn for us by making it grammatically incoherent in the effort to remove verbs ending in “est.”  So perhaps you are not able to master the English language. But the rest of us can pick it up pretty well, thanks.

Sincerely,

Jennifer  <– So done with offering it up.  Just done.  Get me to confession, please.

Link #4: My Classic Collection of Advent Links

When I moved the blog to the new location, I didn’t pull over the entire old sidebar.  FYI the new sidebar has lots of good stuff, including a freshly-harvested crop of internet reading now that I’m back to goofing off on the internet.  But if you’re looking for the annual collection of Old Reliable Advent Links, here they are:

This is not the year I grow the list, but look, when I searched Wikimedia for “Advent” this slightly-wrinkled manuscript page from the “O Antiophons” category popped right up:

File:Sapientia.jpg

Artwork courtesy of Benedictine monastery of Podlažice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Top 5 Predicted Evacuation Warnings at Governor Haley’s Next Press Conference

At this morning’s press conference, Governor Haley had to start getting stern with Charlestonians, who are being a mite sluggish about evacuating.  In light of the category 4 hurricane predicted to hit the coast Saturday morning, staffers are preparing a set of stronger warnings for the governor’s next press briefing.

5. “It’s not just gas stations and pharmacies that are closing.  Waffle House is closing.  And Bojangles.  This is serious, y’all.”

4. “Tennessee is filling up, and then you’re gonna have to drive to Kentucky to find a room.  Is that what you want?  I didn’t think so.”

3. “Don’t make me come down there and show you pictures of Hugo.”

2. “Greenville County school buses are now leaving the Charleston Coliseum, and they will be honking outside your house, whether you got your lunch packed or not.”

1. “Okay, that’s it.  Every road east of I-95 is now officially a westbound one-way street.”

Officials denied rumors that the delay in announcing the fate of Saturday’s Carolina-Georgia game is a ploy to improve evacuation rates, but conceded, “if only it were the Clemson-Carolina game, we’d just paint tiger paws on I-26 and be done with it.”

 

File:J. Yancey McGill and Nikki Haley.jpg

Photo: South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley (Flickr) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How to Have a Good Mother’s Day – 2 Steps

I don’t really, truly hate Mother’s Day, contrarian posts on the topic not withstanding.  There are reasons for this.  Two reasons, and they are my patented method for having a good Mother’s Day despite the fact that it is, as it happens, that day.  These two steps should work pretty well for most non-mothers, though in some cases the best you’re going to get is not as bad as it could have been.

Step 1: Don’t Expect Things

Evil presumably well-intentioned people use this holiday to sell you all kinds of ideas.  The idea that you should want to give or receive a particular gift, or that you should want to go to brunch, or that you should want to participate in their fundraiser, or heaven forbid, but it happens, that you should suddenly take an interest in purchasing greeting cards.*

Marketing plus cultural momentum can cause you to develop any number of unrealistic, unhealthy expectations.  Resist clinging to these ideas and others like them:

  • That your family life is and always has been just like the last five minutes of any episode of Little House on the Prairie.
  • That you like the food other people cook for you.
  • That today the weather is going to cooperate.
  • That you are going to get that nap you’ve been really wanting.
  • That the homily at church is going to be any good, and the Ave Maria is really going to hit that special place in your heart this time.
  • That the lady who gave you that really weird statue of Mary had better aesthetic sense than you after all.
  • That your kids are going to spontaneously give up fighting for twenty-four hours.
  • That your life is pleasant.
  • That you are going to enjoy this day.

Best Mother’s Day reading?  The Silver Chair.  Puddleglum has it going on.

Cultivate the right attitude, and when people ask you Monday morning, “Did you have a good Mother’s Day?” you’ll be able to respond quite honestly, “Well, it was almost exactly like the descriptions of the Second Coming, only heavier on stinging insects and with a conspicuous absence of an actual end to time and beginning of eternal life, which I’d been looking forward to — but hey, now I feel totally like the real Second Coming is going to be great.  So yeah, it was good.  How about yours?”

Step 2: Get Yourself a Present

Bacon is traditional, but you can totally branch out on this one.  Waiting for other people to figure out what floats your boat is overrated.  Take the initiative.  The only rules are that it be something you actually want, and that it be something you can afford.  Driving yourself deeper into debt is not Mothers’ Day compliant.

Wait a minute?  You’re not a mother? Hah.  Who said that had anything to do with it?  You have a mother, and that’s what counts.  Get yourself a prize.

 

Note to Skeptics:  I am not kidding.  Try the method for yourself and be amazed at the results.

 

* I know many people who purchase greeting cards and are otherwise upright citizens with precious gifts to share with the world.  Don’t judge, guys.  Don’t judge.

 

File:Charnel House at St Helens Church, Cliffe, Kent, England, 2015-05-06-5136.jpg

Photo:By Slaunger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.  Want to know what this quaint little cottage is?  Here’s the description from Wikimedia:

The Charnel House, located in a corner of the graveyard at St Helen’s Church in Cliffe, Kent, England. The Charnel House was built during the mid 19th century. It was used as a make-shift mortuary until the bodies were taken away to be buried. Its location close to the river Thames is key as bodies found were washed up or floating along the Thames were retrieved and taken to the charnel house to be stored awaiting identification and burial.

The building continued to be used until the start of the twentieth century, when a series of Public Health Acts forced buildings such as this to become redundant. After this, the Church used it for storage and at one time a hive of bees was also put in there to deter intruders. It is now classified as a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.

And why is it the Wikimedia Image of the Day on the vigil of Mother’s Day?  Because Wikimedia knows.  Yes, indeed.  What you need is a cottage full of bloated corpses, or angry bees as you prefer, and then your holiday will be shiny and bright just like it ought to be.

3.5 Time Outs: Vatican Spies

Thanks once again to our host Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy putting the mmmmn in Church Militant since  . . . well, awhile.

It's electric. Except when it's not.

1.

You wanna know what’s better than bacon? Eric Sammons e-mailing to ask, “May I send you a review copy of my new book?”

I know!  I couldn’t believe it either!  I figured the SuperHusband must have driven to Florida in desperation, in order to beg a perfect stranger to please give his wife something, anything, that would help her grow in holiness.  He would have observed that I already had a large collection of freebie plastic rosaries, so please did Mr. Sammons know of anything else that might help?

Another possible explanation is that since I liked the first book, maybe I’d like the next one, too.

2.

I worry sometimes that if I get too many review books, it will cause me to neglect my local Catholic bookstore.  Fear not!  The kids are taking care of us.  For example – item #2 that’s better than bacon: This Sunday the “Roamin’ Catholic” bookmobile was parked at our parish.  Yay!  My favorite time of year!  And the 4th grader spots this DVD and asks, “Please can we get this Mom?”

It’s a pretty simple formula:  Child requests DVD about real-life Nazi-thwarting Secret Agent Nun?  Mom says, “Um.  Yes.”  We haven’t watched it yet, though.  I’ve been too busy yelling at the kids to clean the house growing in holiness.

3.

My biggest disappointment in reading Jack Chick tracts was the discovery that, through some bureaucratic snafu, I’d been cheated.  If I really became a citizen of Vatican City the day I was baptized, where’s my passport???  Ah, but now my son has rectified my problem, and issued me my secret-agent ID:

Don’t worry, I’m still gonna carry my regular ID as well.

3.5

 . . . delightful to read on a Sunday afternoon.  See the review just below this post, or click here.

EDITED to add: And yeah, of course it’s link day.  If you have one you want to share, we’re all eyes.

3.5 Time Outs: Feminine Genius

Thanks once again to our host Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy, without whom Tuesdays would be so . . . different.

Not everyone's a girl-blogger. Click the photo to find out what the guys are saying.

1.

I don’t see an official announcement yet, so I won’t spill the beans on the details, but I’ve been instructed to spend the next month or two pondering the word women.  I can’t decide if I was the intentional choice for that one, or just lucky.  There are so many seriously-girlesque-with-hearts-on-top ladies out there in the Catholic blogosphere, and here I am, feeling pretty fashionable when I’ve got on a new black t-shirt and jeans instead of an old black t-shirt and jeans.  Then again, I am not the only Catholic homeschooling mom at my parish who played rugby in college.

But anyway, it’s got me thinking about that word.  Okay I’m familiar with the biological details, but what, exactly, is it that makes girls different enough to get their own apostolic letter?

2.

Ladies, will somebody please tell Larry the secret code for getting all those cute little post-it-notes above his frog?  DorianHallie? Fulwilinator? Anyone?  Anyone?  Please?  He’ll never even own half of Tuesday, if that frog keeps hiding away his linkfest inside the frog cave.  Maybe someone should check with Mrs. D. to confirm he’s in good standing and can be admitted to auxiliary membership.

UPDATE: Larry says you get what you pay for.  Not his fault he’d rather spend his cash on the worthy Mrs. D.  Masculine genius, right there.  I’m with it.

3.

Internet Valentines:

At CWG, Karina Fabian applies the bacon analogy to the new non-compromise.  If you like her post, she asks you to please share it around.

Also hidden in the CWG Monday line-up (yes, I am personally responsible for the post pile-on, go ahead, flog me), Ellen Gable Hrkach tells you the cold hard truth about the work required to succeed at self-publishing.  Now you know what it is traditional publishers have been doing all these years.

And super-bonus: Today we have an actual Valentine-themed post. Ordinarily Kathryn writes on third Tuesdays, but I bumped her up a week when I saw what she had planned.

I think the similarity of color-schemes between the CWG blog and the Vatican website is coincidental.  Only Ann Lewis knows for sure.  Has anyone noticed whether she’s got the Vatican-spy secret decoder ring?

If you know someone who takes that last question seriously, you need a dose of masculine genius:

Perfect valentine for your budding junior apologist.  Nothing like a good argument with a lunatic to really make an adolescent boy enjoy religion.

Free girl-book, today only: My friend’s mom Christine Bush has her kindle romance Cowboy Boots on sale today for Valentine’s Day.  Free download.  I haven’t read it yet, but thought it was worth a look at that price.

From my inbox: The Catholic Company is offering 14% off all orders today only, use coupon code LOVE14 during checkout.  Timely if you owe your godchildren across-country some good Lenten reading.  I imagine there are other discounts to be had today, feel free to share your info in the combox.

3.5

Sursum Corda?  I saw it on a Confederate battle flag.   SC’s 7th Batallion.  The full motto is Sursum Corda – Quid Non Pro Patria? on a field of blue with a cross made of stars in the center.  It was made by the Ursuline nuns in Columbia. Very cool detail: metal sequins on the stars.

If you go [no visit to the Inferno is complete without a quick stroll right past the inner door to the State Museum and on to the end of the hall where the good exhibits hide], call ahead and arrange a tour with the curator for education, Joe Long. He isn’t Catholic, but ask him to tell you his St. Anthony story.  It’s a classic.

The only kind of water that ever, ever, touches the single malt my Valentine sent me.

3.5 Time Outs: Jesus Fairyland

Thanks once again to our host Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy for inspiring countless countable numbers of bloggers to add structure and scandalous images to their Tuesday.  But not that scandalous — take a look at his 3.5 takes to see not see images far worse than derelict toddlers.

1.

I won a prize!  Oh it cheers me up.  Lisa M. encouraged me to turn out for the Amazing Catechist Giveaway, which I did not want to do, because, well, I didn’t want to be commenting just to indulge my book lust.  But you know what? I didn’t have to fake it.  There’s useful information in that place, and friendly bloggers who answer combox questions, which means even more useful information.  Needless to say, I learned about a pile of new books I want to check out, and look, I won one of them:

And now it is in my hands!  I can’t wait to read it.  Yay!  Check out the Keep Infants of Down Syndrome blog, if you are like me, giving Catholics a bad name by chewing out telemarketers for major charities that seek to “prevent birth defects” by killing off the people who don’t meet spec.  Yeah, I’m cranky.  Killing innocent people makes me cranky.

2.

Respectable Christians are sending Sarah Reinhard photos of their Advent wreaths. I don’t qualify.  Here’s the one we used to have:

That’s Santa and his reindeer, flying towards Christmas.  (Which had not arrived at photo time — observe the recycled candles.  There cannot be a single shade of purple.)

Allow me to explain: I did not donate this item because it was too tacky for me.  It was because, well, look how big it is.  You can store a lot of books in that cubic foot.  My one vice had to give way for the other. But you who own proper Advent wreaths, send in your photos.

3.

Dear Small Children of Mine,

We have been building a model of Bethlehem in our living room every Advent since before the eldest among you was even conceived.  It pleases me greatly to combine Lego, Fischer Price, and Playmobil structures into a giant sprawling representation of the Holy Land.  I am not the least disturbed when the Seven Dwarves turn out for the census.  Presumably the Romans counted even the very short and sneezy.

But I draw the line at calling it “Jesus Fairyland”.  It is Bethlehem.  B-e-t-h-l-e-h-e-m.  Get it straight.

Sincerely,

That Catechist Lady Who’s Supposed to be Educating You

3.5

Rapunzel, opiate of the masses. This weekend I shipped the Y chromosomes off to Hunt Camp, Eldest Daughter did homework Friday and then spent the weekend at her friend’s house, and my two listless littles watched our new library find: Tangled. Continuously.  From 9AM Friday until 3PM Sunday, with breaks only to sleep, attend church, and sometimes to eat.  I got a lot of work done.  And hey, it’s a pretty good movie.  Edifying, even. And boy am I glad my 5-year-old is still enthralled, because last night at the ER

***

Relax.  I will finish that story next week.   All is well here.  Offer up your suspense for the half-dozen people I’m praying for who have real problems.  One in particular needs you today, desperately.  God will know which one.  Thanks!

3.5 Time Outs: Plague Journal

Thanks to our host at Acts of the Apostasy for giving me new mid-week writing ambitions.  The 1/2 was going to kill me, until I realized how good I am at  not finishing things.

1.

SuperHusband wants to buy a camera adapter for our microscope.  I used accounting stalling techniques to put him off.  And then I remembered that my resident photographers give me a treasure-trove of material for blog work.  Tempting.  Very tempting.  On the other hand, though he tried to lure me in with promises of breath-taking snowflake photography, mostly our microscope is used for insect post-mortems.  Half-smushed ants.  I think I might get fired from the Internet and made to sit in the back row at church, if I posted any of those.

2.

PSA #1: Best lip balm in the universe:

PSA#2: Don’t store it in your truck.  You want to.  But don’t.

3.

Dan Castell’s latest Marx Brother’s story is up:

I’ve been taking advantage of the plague to work through the manuscript of the magnum opus from which these are drawn.  On the one hand, the leisurely, relax-and-enjoy style of the genre is perfect for the convalescent.  On the other hand, if you aren’t supposed laugh because it makes you cough, hmnn.  The frail read at their own risk.

3 1/2

The boy just called me in excitedly, to show me the printing dots, as viewed under the microscope, of this book:

The book is great.  Super great.  Best treatment of the topic ever.  And under a low-power microscope, it looks like:

***

Well, that’s all for this week.  And unlike our kind host, I won’t be able to finish my half until SuperHusband talks me into the next big gear purchase, so that could be later than Volume 3.  We figured out he could use his photography/consulting money to fund his gadget habit, so there’s hope for you.  I only hope he doesn’t decide we should manage my book budget the same way.  Shhh.