Triumph and Transitions

At long last, the time has come.  Victory is MINE!

Which is to say, a year and a half after I should have done so, I finally bought a new(er) car, and some two weeks after I should have done so, I am blogging about it.  Back on the 8th, my Vati and I made our way to Troy where I drove and examined and, in the end, purchased a 2010 Toyota Corolla.  I’m considering calling her Ruby, cliché though the name be.  She is shiny and red and a whopping 16 years newer than the Buick Century…which means there are some changes to get used to.

Here are some of them:

Gear shift placement.  Back in 1994, the gear shift was attached to the steering column, such that one would reach behind the steering wheel to put it in drive etc.  But if I try that now, the wipers will turn on instead.

Traction control.  This is the most unsettling one: if the car starts to slip, some system …um…interferes?  Tries to take my control away?  Makes the car move funny until I remove my foot from the gas?  It sort of makes sense, but it’s also profoundly strange, and kind of unwelcome; the first few days I drove it were particularly icy, lending another layer of discomfort to learning to navigate the novelty.  Add traction control anxiety to new car anxiety to pothole-of-DOOM anxiety, and you have the most nerve-wracking drive I’ve taken yet.

Car payments.  Welcome to adulthood, kid.  This one shouldn’t be a problem, but there was the moment where I misread my statement – which said the first payment was due on March 25th – such that I thought payment was due a month earlier than that.  So…well, I sure got my payment in on time, even if I had some gut-wrenching moments of panic that prompted me to sign up for online payments.

Radio and dashboard.  This was always going to be a change, I guess, but it’s not too bad.  My hand is already learning where to reach to control the heating vents and radio stations.

Putting my cassettes away.  The Buick had a much beloved Billy Joel tape, Turnstiles, in the deck for months.  Now I’ve got a CD player – which, as CDs are getting phased out, means I am still a bit behind the times.  Ah well.  There’s an auxiliary jack as well.  Such novelty, guys, I’m not sure I’m up for it.

Looking for the right car in the parking lot.  So far this has gone better than expected.  It helps that the remote entry works more remotely than the Century’s did (and beeps cutely.  Hooray!)

HEAT.  It still takes a few minutes for the Corolla to heat up in a winter like this, but it’s so much faster than the Century.  Not to mention, there’s such a thing as being overly warm in the car.  I had no idea.

Speed.  The Century could book it, when needed, but there was no way to go over 65, much less 70 or 75, without it whinging a bit.  A kind of growling and shuddering that made everyone in the car recognize how much the car was working.  Now I can just zip along at 80 without noticing.  Whoops!

All in all, it is a lovely change – though I must admit, Dad may be right.  Once I’d purchased it, he said “I think it’ll take years before you love it as much as you loved the Buick.”  Sounds unlikely, given that the Buick essentially cost me nothing and I just put down a heaping chunk of change on this newer car.  But that was the point: there was an essential carelessness to driving the Century, an attitude unbothered by the prospect of minor damages to something so sturdy and so many years old.  I never really thought of the Buick as rugged, but it turns out I drove it that way.  It was a far more masculine vehicle than the sweet lady I have now.  But she’s rather delightful so far!  I think I’ll keep her.

Earworm Alleluia

It’s that time of year when Choral Union prepares for Handel’s Messiah, which always confuses the inner calendar.  We skate from Isaiah’s prophecies to Luke 2 fulfillment, from Lenten sorrow to resurrection triumph, to judgment, and then back in reverse order because that’s how rehearsal works.  Truly, it is a glorious liturgical muddle.

This week, we ran through the happier movements of part 2 (“Lift up your heads, O ye gates” and the choruses following) and all the choruses of part 3.  Instead of picky melismata, there’s more emphasis on dynamic contrast and fugal exposition.  The music rises in one great crescendo, such that I left practice with “Worthy is the Lamb” resounding in my head.  There is such a fierce joy in proclaiming Christ’s victory over sin and death, a taste of what is to come.

That vehement delight also accounts for my aural addiction to Anuna’s “Dicant Nunc,” a new setting of an old Easter antiphon:

Christus resurgens ex mortuis          Christ, being raised from the dead,
iam non moritur:                         dies no more;
mors illi ultra non dominabitur.        Death hath no more dominion over him.
Quod enim vivit, vivit Deo.              For in that He lives, He lives to God.
Alleluia.                                    Alleluia!
Dicant nunc Iudaei,                      Let the Jews now say
quomodo milites custodientes            how the soldiers guarding
sepulchrum perdiderunt Regem         the sepulchre lost the King
ad lapidis positionem.                    sealed with a stone.
Quare non servabant                    Why did they not watch
petram iustitiae?                          the rock of justice?
Aut sepultum reddant,                  Let them either return him buried,
aut resurgentem adorent nobiscum    or with us worship him risen,
dicentes Alleluia.                         saying Alleluia.

This whole text makes me waggle my fingers in exultation.  Death has no mastery over Him!!  In the same way, we may count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

What welcome news at any and all times of year.  Alleluia indeed!

A Long-Expected Victory

We’re all familiar with the plaint: So many books, so little time.  I already own more books than I can read, it seems, enough that I have to make a conscious effort to pluck one and consume it.

Still wasn’t enough to keep me from opening the floodgates.

Worlds welcome me, my friends.


There are gates I can sidle through, bridges I can cross, skies for the flying and seas for the diving.

Between the books my fellow Muses have discussed, the stories shared by readers, and various reading lists culled from other friends, there are enough reading materials to last me several lifetimes…and after a year and some change in Ann Arbor, I’ve finally gotten a library card so as to access them all.

Tremendous and terrible!  The catalog lay open to my use, and I confess I went right mad with power.  Hardly a day later, Undine, Phantastes, and Doctor Zhivago await me.  The Last Unicorn draws nigh from another branch of the bibliotheque tree.  Storm Front and The Once and Future King are mine for the reading once the other 8 readers are done with them.  Three Men in a Boat, through the genius of MeLCat, shall be brought to me, presented like a token to a world-conquering hero.

Yep, it definitely feels something like this.  Da-da-da-DUN!!!

Yep, it definitely feels something like this. Da-da-da-DUN!!!

Rejoice with me!