Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Marriage as "Settling Down"?

When did the idea of "settling down" become negative? The young and "free" twenty-something giving up a life of parties and socials for a "homey" life of the-same-thing-every-night. Granted, many (many) things change when you get married. Everything from bedtime to tax breaks can shift dramatically. I don't want this to sound like a glorification of marriage or anything. To be sure, marriage is a difficult and formidable adventure. But it is an adventure. For me, marriage as been the most exciting adventure of my life! There are, obviously, the myriad joys that accompany one as one lives with the love of one's life; the excitement, the romance, the spontaneity of young love! Yet even the stressful parts have been adventurous! Moving twice (three times if you count living in Italy for a month) the first two months of our marriage while finishing finals and degrees; budgeting new expenses and still making an effort to visit family and friends far and wide; packing up all our worldly goods and traversing the country for more school; making new friends; budgeting more expensive expenses, and making a greater effort to visit family and friends farther and wider. It's all a beautiful part of living, loving, learning, lachrymosity, and laughter. Children are yet another adventure we've not fully experienced yet. They will be exciting too! Chesterton, in his essay "On Running After One's Hat" gives a grand illustration of life as adventure: "...There is a current impression that it is unpleasant to have to run after one's hat. Why should it be unpleasant to the well-ordered and pious mind? Not merely because it is running, and running exhausts one. The same people run much faster in games and sports. The same people run much more eagerly after an uninteresting, little leather ball than they will after a nice silk hat. There is an idea that it is humiliating to run after one's hat; and when people say it is humiliating they mean that it is comic. It certainly is comic; but man is a very comic creature, and most of the things he does are comic--eating, for instance. And the most comic things of all are exactly the things that are most worth doing--such as making love. A man running after a hat is not half so ridiculous as a man running after a wife." I am reminded of T's recent blog post on gift. He captures very well, I think, the tremendous blessing of being able to view everything that we give as a gift, as an adventure. One of the things I most love about my husband is his unfailing ability to see the good in any situation. It's not a habit of resignation, "Well, we can't do anything about it, so just live with it." It's a grace he's whole-heartedly allowed to flow through him: the grace of true optimism. He always says to me, "It's us and God! Let's take on the world!" Even though we don't know what's in store for us down the road, it's exciting and comforting to know we'll be there facing it together. A large part of the adventure is whom you're adventuring with! For people like Chesterton and my philosopher-husband, marriage (even as "settling down") could never be considered a negative endeavor. It's all a beautiful and exciting journey on the way to heaven :) Today is the feast of St. Catherine of Sienna, one of 25 children, doctor of the Church, Dominican! It also happens to be our two-year anniversary :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday of the Man Born Blind

Yesterday, Byzantines celebrated the Sunday of the Man Born Blind. I'm sure you are familiar with the story:
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-7
On a Website for the Byzantine church in America, there is a beautiful adaptation of St. Ambrose of Milan on this story: St. Ambrose of Milan teaches that the blind man touched by Jesus received more then just his sight. In one instant we see both the power of his divinity and the strength of his holiness. As the divine light, he touched this man and enlightened him. As priest, by an action symbolizing baptism he wrought in him his work of redemption. The only reason for his mixing clay with the saliva and smearing it on the eyes of the blind man was to remind you that he who restored the man to health by anointing his eyes with clay is the very one who fashioned the first man out of clay, and that this clay that is our flesh can receive the light of eternal life through the sacrament of baptism.

You, too, should come to Siloam, that is, to him who was sent by the Father, as he says in the Gospel: “My teaching is not my own; it comes from him who sent me.” Let Christ wash you, and then you will see. (Adapted from Letter 67)

This just appealed to me today. Thought I'd share it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

T's Birthday!!

Yesterday was T's birthday. He's kinda funny when it comes to birthdays because he says, "Why should I get presents? My mom did all the work 23 years ago!" He's a fan of hobbit-style birthdays. If you come to his party, he gives you a present. If he had the resources, everyone he knew would get a present on his birthday, whether you could come to a party or not. And in proper hobbit fashion, we ATE FOOD to celebrate! T even got a Guinness--on tap (it comes in pints?)! We went with our good friends D and M, and P (our marathon buddy) came too. (D and M are happily expecting their first baby, so please keep them in your prayers!) We went to "Cheers" the Replica. Some of you may remember the TV series Cheers with Kelsey Grammer (who, incidentally, later starred as the same character having moved from Boston to Seattle in the series Frasier. Kind of the opposite progression of T and me...but we'll get back to WA one of these days!). Anyway, it's pretty good food (though the wait was L O N G), and we had some good conversations. NEXT, we went to the New England Aquarium. D is an amateur skin diver from CA and he loves going there (he wanted to dive into the huge central tank and swim with all the sharks and fishes!). M is a professional photographer, too, so if she'll let me, I'll be sure to post some of her pics here! She captured some fun moments, for sure. Having P there was a treat, too, since it was like having a brother along. Sometimes he felt like an older brother, sometimes more like a younger brother. I think he had a good time, too, which is important. After the aquarium we took the T back to Cleveland Circle and had Italian chocolate cake at our apartment. It was the prettiest Italian chocolate cake I've made in a long time, and I'm sort of mad at myself for forgetting to take a picture of it. :( I also got to use the cake plate we got for our wedding. That was nice too.
The three Philosophers, enjoying the cake
So, I think it was a happy birthday. I haven't called T's mom yet to thank her for having such a sweet boy, but I can do that any day! And Happy Birthday, My Love :) I LOVE YOU A MILLION-BILLION-SIX!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Boston Marathon

So, Monday was a holiday for most of the Boston area, most importantly, for BC. It was Marathon Day! The 26.2 mile course ran right in front of BC, thus making it nearly impossible for the hundreds of people who work here to get here. It was great.

T and I, and our friend P, decided to watch the marathon from a shady spot atop a hill on the Brighton Campus. It was fabulous: picnic blanket, books, yummy bread, cheese, salami, and (of course) wine; lots of cheering, picture-taking, and chatting between the three of us.

We sat there and watched the first wheelchair racer pass (he had huge arms), and then the two leading ladies (they were shoulder-to-shoulder the entire race!), and then the Kenyan guy who won the men's division. Then, slowly, the "normal" people started passing by: people who have been running their whole lives but not professionally, people who love to run marathons and do it for fun (?), and people who decided to do a marathon "just because." It struck me, as we watched these runners cruise, trot, jog, walk, hobble, stagger, and crawl by our vantage point, the question struck me, "Why do people do this to themselves?"

Granted, the people who run as a profession do it to make money. But what about the other thousands who ran this Monday? We came up with a few reasons..

1) Why not? (T's and P's reason. Very manly, I think.)

2) It's good for you. (Actually, it's not. The distance of a marathon is longer than a human should be running. There comes a point, for most normal people, where one's body would eat itself if one doesn't give it some other energy source (gel packs, power bars, etc.) Most people just aren't designed to run 26.2 miles all at once. But the training is good for you, definitely.)

3) It's one more way to conquer yourself. Alexander the Great, when he had conquered the known world, sat down and cried. Peter Kreeft said, "If he had only looked to conquer himself, he would never have run out of territory." That's a good point, I think.

4) Companionship. It was pretty cool to watch several pairs of people running together, step by step, arm in arm, or holding hands. In a marathon, especially, when the two of you sign up to run it together it's an entirely unique growing experience.

5) Making new friends you'll never see again. If you're running along in a race and you realize you're at the same pace as so-and-so in the orange shoes, you keep running with him the whole race. You get to know him, even if you never talk to him. "He runs hunched over to one side a bit." "He's smiling now, I wonder if his family is near by cheering him on." "It looks like he's got a side cramp, I hope he's feeling alright." You get the idea...
I remember that aspect of running in high school. In a race, whether you know the person or not, you're all kind of looking out for each other. It's true that you may also be kinda fiercely striving to beat them all, but I never had a chance at winning so I was mostly on the friendly side of things.

So, in the end, while I've acquired no desire to run a marathon myself (T still wants to--more so, I think), the thought of running a 1/2 marathon has entered my head. I could do that. I've done a 10 mile run before. Maybe I should start training with T and run the first 1/2 with him (actually, I wouldn't be running with him if he was running for a good time. I'm too slow.) and cheer him on at the finish line.. We'll see :)

Here are the winners for Boston's 112th Marathon:

Dire Tune - 2:25:25
Alevtina Biktimirova - 2:25:27

Robert K. Cheruiyot - 2:07:46
Adberrahime Bouramdane - 2:09:04

As you can see, the two leading women were only two seconds apart. Intense.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


T and I have found a great way to enjoy oatmeal! I've always sort of liked it, but I could never eat too much of it or I would begin to feel nauseous. But, this way is better for me. This recipe makes 2 small servings. Mix together and let sit overnight at room temperature (I put it on top of the fridge with a towel over the bowl): 1 cup rolled oats 1 cup warm water (not hot) 2 Tbsp. plain yogurt In the morning, boil: 1 cup water add soaked oats and boil for 5 minutes. Serve with butter (or cream) and sugar, or brown sugar, or maple syrup, or jam, or fruit and nuts, or.. well, you get the idea. The soaking of the oats makes the nutrients more readily available to your body (and I stay full longer), and the yogurt adds a nice flavor when cooked. If you have leftovers, just put them in the fridge and save them for the next morning. Plop the cold oatmeal in a frying pan with a little oil or butter and cover. Heat (on medium heat) till warm through. Serve with yogurt and maple syrup (YUM).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hobbit House!!

If T and I ever build our dream home, I have a feeling we'll incorporate quite a few features from this one :) So cute! Maybe we'll even build this kind of house on the farm we want to share in the PNW!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Glory Be to God for Poetry

The title, a reference to a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, is the inspiration for this post. T's family has periodic recitation performances involving all the little kids. Even the baby, 1 1/2 years old, will be performing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" (though Mum says that it's hard for this little one to get her hands over her head for the sunshine part--babies being proportioned as they are). :) Since we'll be visiting in May, T and I both want to memorize some poems to recite too--being away from family is no excuse to slack in one's memorization duties! T decided to memorize a few of Ovid's poems in Latin and recite both the Latin and English translations of them. It got me thinking, "What would I recite?" We didn't do recitation as a family when I was growing up (we did have to do it for school sometimes), though we were encouraged to memorize things. One of my favorites as a kid was "The Tale of Custard the Dragon." I memorized it in middle school for a class and still have most of it down. "That would do," I thought. But then I got carried away and picked out two more "fun" poems--"Sick" and "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too." I figured I could even get the younger kids in the family involved in Custard the Dragon and Ickle Me. Today, though, I was reading through some of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poems online. His use of sprung rhythm (which I don't fully understand--ask T) and his mastery of language are breathtaking! Here is one poem I read which particularly struck me:


HARK, hearer, hear what I do; lend a thought now, make believe We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood, Southern dene or Lancashire clough or Devon cleave, That leans along the loins of hills, where a candycoloured, where a gluegold-brown Marbled river, boisterously beautiful, between Roots and rocks is danced and dandled, all in froth and waterblowballs, down. We are there, when we hear a shout That the hanging honeysuck, the dogeared hazels in the cover Makes dither, makes hover And the riot of a rout Of, it must be, boys from the town Bathing: it is summer’s sovereign good.

By there comes a listless stranger: beckoned by the noise He drops towards the river: unseen Sees the bevy of them, how the boys With dare and with downdolphinry and bellbright bodies huddling out, Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by turn and turn about.

This garland of their gambols flashes in his breast Into such a sudden zest Of summertime joys That he hies to a pool neighbouring; sees it is the best There; sweetest, freshest, shadowiest; Fairyland; silk-beech, scrolled ash, packed sycamore, wild wychelm, hornbeam fretty overstood By. Rafts and rafts of flake-leaves light, dealt so, painted on the air, Hang as still as hawk or hawkmoth, as the stars or as the angels there, Like the thing that never knew the earth, never off roots Rose. Here he feasts: lovely all is! No more: off with—down he dings His bleachèd both and woolwoven wear: Careless these in coloured wisp All lie tumbled-to; then with loop-locks Forward falling, forehead frowning, lips crisp Over finger-teasing task, his twiny boots Fast he opens, last he offwrings Till walk the world he can with bare his feet And come where lies a coffer, burly all of blocks Built of chancequarrièd, selfquainèd rocks And the water warbles over into, filleted with glassy grassy quicksilvery shivès and shoots And with heavenfallen freshness down from moorland still brims, Dark or daylight on and on. Here he will then, here he will the fleet Flinty kindcold element let break across his limbs Long. Where we leave him, froliclavish while he looks about him, laughs, swims. Enough now; since the sacred matter that I mean I should be wronging longer leaving it to float Upon this only gambolling and echoing-of-earth note— What is … the delightful dene? Wedlock. What the water? Spousal love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends Into fairy trees, wild flowers, wood ferns Rankèd round the bower . . . . . . . .

He could have said, "It was a beautiful summer day and a stranger is distracted from his journey by a noisy group of boys swimming. He decides to go swimming too. That's kind of like a wedding." But the beauty of poetry is the beauty and artistry of expression. I would love to memorize this poem (I'm not sure I'll be able to do it by May), if only for the line about the boys, who: Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by turn and turn about. What a beautiful way to describe taking turns jumping into the water! Someday I'll have this poem memorized. Until then, I will just have to enjoy reading it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What A Day!

Whew! I went to get blood drawn this morning at the lab (where I've had it done before--the technician I had was great!), but when I got there, three people were already in the waiting room and there was no technician there. No one knows where the scheduled person was. To my knowledge, they still don't know what happened. We all waited there for a while and the ultrasound lady (who shares the office) arrived and she didn't know anything either. Luckily for me, my doctor's office is just two floors up in the same building so I went up to see what I could see. The doctor was at a delivery, but her assistant called the lab's main office and they didn't know what was going on either, but said someone should be there before 10:00. So I went back downstairs to wait another 20 minutes... but no one came. I went BACK up to my doctor's office and they told me I should just go to the other (competing) lab in the building, which I did. Got there, signed in, sat down and waited 15 minutes.. only to find out that they won't accept the blood order paperwork from the other lab. :P So I went up, yet again, to my doctor's office and the nice assistant lady printed me off a differnet colored paper with the same information on it. Back downstairs, sign in, sit, wait, called. I spent 3 minutes in the chair getting poked, bled, and taped. So, to make a long (and boring) story short, it took me 2 hours to wait for a 3 minute blood test.. haha. The ride back on the T was fine, though (I had a good book). I even made it back to Cleveland Circle in time to re-load my "Chah-ley Cahd" before catching the shuttle and arrive on campus with 10 minutes to spare before Mass (yay!). If that wasn't enough, I even ran into Dr. Kries from GU after Mass! He was here at BC visiting the campus with his daughter who had been accepted and wanted to preview the campus. He is well, and it was very good to see him, even if only for a few minutes. (We miss GU.) I gave him my number and updated email so he can get in touch with us when he's back this way in the fall. Work was fine--no one showed up to the open forum meeting we planned (which means not as much work for me!) and I left early from the empty meeting. I got to take a nice long walk after I got home and I talked to my sister the whole time. It's always good to chat with family--sometimes I don't realize how much I miss them until I can really talk to them and find out all the little details of their job, their daily grind, their kids... the weather :) Yummy dinner of roasted green beans and onion and potato slices with lemon pepper chicken and ICE CREAM for dessert! What a day.. a beautiful, full, comic day! AND, we just found out two of our good friends are pregnant!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wedding Rings and Shiny Things

I almost hate to admit it, but occasionally I find myself looking longingly at big, sparkley, jeweled-filled wedding rings. I have fleeting thoughts like "I want a big ring too..." or "WOW WHAT A HUGE DIAMOND!" But those thoughts never last long, and I never really mean it. All I have to do is look at my own ring to remember how much I love it, and why we designed our rings the way we did. I knew I didn't want a huge diamond popping up out of my hand as I went about my daily tasks. I knew I wanted a crucifix incorporated somehow, and the rosary ring just "fit" with T's and my relationship. I always jokingly tell people, "Most women only get one diamond. I got ten." :) Call it pride if you want to, but I like to think of it as being contented. I agree with Chesterton when he says, "Being 'contented' ought to mean in English, as it does in French, 'being pleased.' Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position." I am pleased with my ring. I appreciate it for all the sacrifice and love that T gave with it. And it's mine :) Now, this is NOT to say that I think big, sparkley, jeweled-filled wedding rings are bad or anything! I think that every woman feels about her ring the way I do about mine: "It's perfect and it's mine and it's from my sweet husband." Basically, no matter how much I think I might have wanted one big diamond, I'm absolutely and profoundly happy with my wedding ring. Just my thought for the day..

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stormy Night, Lamb Cake, Exercise

There was a thunderstorm the other night. I never really understood why children would be afraid of thunder. This, no doubt, was due to the fact that I grew up in a desert and never experienced a real thunderstorm--the kind with lightning that's almost purple it's so bright, and with thunder that rattles the windows and feels like it's going to knock down the house. That's what kind of storm it was. It was neat :) I had read Thunder Cake just a few days before the storm, and it made me want to make chocolate cake!
However, just the night before the storm (or earlier the night of?) T and I had made our Easter lamb cake (finally!). We are very happy to report it turned out nicely. We had a slice of it and it's delicious. It's somewhat tragic, though, to see an increasingly diminishing little lamb. And I ate one ear, too (as a snack). Poor little lamb...
I went for a run today, too. Actually, it was more a walk than a run, but I did run a little bit (more than I have voluntarily in easily several years). Naturally I'm sore as ever, but it was a good little excursion down memory lane (I did cross-country in high school). I've decided I want to start exercising more. It's certainly more frugal to fit into the clothes one has rather than continually having to buy more. (I hate shopping, too, but that's another story for another time). Exercise can do this for me (I hope). But, when do to it? I know I have it easier than most, since I have no sweet little kiddies to dictate my daily schedule, but it still seems hard to find a specific time I can devote to exercise. It will soon (again, I hope) be getting warmer in Boston and I don't relish the idea of working out in the hot, muggy, afternoon heat. So, morning or evening, right? Well, evenings around the reservoir (where I've thus far done most of my exercise) are usually characterized by clouds of gnats/mosquitoes, and I hate bugs. I hate choking on them, especially, when I unexpectedly run through a hidden swarm of them. :Þ Morning? That seems to be the only viable option, but it would mean waking up earlier. It wouldn't be the end of the world, though, and I could do it. It's finally light enough out at the time when I would have to wake up so as not to be dangerous... The other question to answer, though, is what to do when I exercise. There are so many theories out there for different exercise goals (do you want to run a marathon? do you want to lose weight? how much? do you want to tone your muscles? do you want to slim down all over? do you want to concentrate on a particular part of your body? cardio or endurance? etc, etc, etc.). I guess the short answer would be "yes" to all but the marathon one (T's doing that). GAH! Also, I want it to be an easy-ish program. I don't want to kill myself every other day in a hard work out and be sore and stiff the next day. Here's another problem. My exercise regime seems always to depend on the weather. Summertime in Boston, fine--I can deal with it (by forcing myself to get up at 0:dark:30), but what happens in another 6 months when it starts to get cold, snowy, icy, and windy again? I can't really afford a gym membership, and besides, going TO the gym to work out takes so much more time. Does anyone have any bright (and simple) solutions?! :) I guess I will just have to keep you (that is, those of you who are interested) posted as to my progress in the exercise endeavor. If at first..

Friday, April 11, 2008

Great Article

This story about a woman who helps young girls who are failing in school to succeed is awesome!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Our Visit to CA

My wonderful little philosopher husband, being the grand student he is, successfully managed to get a paper accepted at the Lonergan conference held at LMU in CA. We were both somewhat shocked, but very excited. T also got funding from BC for 1/2 the price of our plane tickets, which was certainly a big help.

We woke early on Friday to get ready and to leave enough time to walk to the T, spend an hour riding it to the airport, take a bus to the terminal, check our bags, go through security, and generally hurry up and wait for our flight. We did leave in plenty of time, but when we stepped outside the door of our building, it was drizzling something fierce. "Drat," I thought, "we almost escaped." We knew it was supposed to rain all weekend in Boston, and we were very much looking forward to spending it in sunny CA. And so, even on the plane, we carried with us an encumbering memento of the east coast--a huge maroon and gold umbrella, standing at an impressive 3 feet. Oh well.
Luckily (I suppose), it wasn't considered dangerous enough to be denied its persistently awkward place at our side and we didn't need to check it. Also luckily, we had a rental car where we could properly neglect it.

We arrived on time in CA and met my parents (as quickly as we could) at In 'n' Out Burger (YUM!). From there, T and Daddy headed to the conference to play and Momma and I met up with my sister to go dress shopping (for me). See, T's in a wedding in May and I'm not. I don't mind not being in the wedding (I will get to sit in the pew with all T's siblings!), but I wanted to be sure to get a dress that would look good next to T's tux. I'm happy to report I found a dress--the first one I picked off the rack! I love Ross :)

We all went out to dinner Friday night at Olive Garden and guess what! THEY HAD PORTABELLA MUSHROOM RAVIOLI!! I'm not generally a fan of mushrooms (not as much of a hobbit as T), but Luigi's, the restaurant where we had our reception, used to have it and it was amazing! Anyway, walk down memory lane eating my pasta. Fabulous.

T's paper was scheduled for 11am on Saturday and we all (Momma, V, and I) trouped over to LMU to hear it. He was so cute. When I wasn't busy being nervous for him, I just wanted to squeeze him. He wrote about the struggle against bias--as understood by Bernard Lonergan. Toward the end of his paper, he started to read it much faster and I was getting a little worried that he was worried or nervous. Turns out he was reading more quickly deliberately 'cuz he wasn't as sure about his arguments in that last part as he was at the beginning. Maybe he was reading faster hoping the more critical listeners wouldn't hear anything to criticize. I dunno :) After his paper there were several questions and he answered them all very well! I took notes of the comments and suggestions (ah, the life of a philosopher's wife!). Afterwards, Momma told T, "I have to say, you will make an excellent professor someday." :D

There was a banquet at the end of the conference and Momma, Daddy, T, and I all attended. There was an open bar (gotta love them Jesuits!) and the dinner was delicious--just the right sized portions and YUMMY food! It was good to meet a few of the "heavy hitters" in the Lonergan world, and we all had a generally wonderful time.

Sunday we went to 8am Mass with the 'rents and my sister, V. The priest was a delightful old man who reminded us a bit of Wakko from the amazing, wonderful show, Animaniacs, which was amusing. The gospel was beautiful--the story of the journey on the road to Emmaus. I love that one... Toward the end of Mass, T must have been very excited for something because he got all hyper and started tickling me and chuckling and moving his legs around. Oh well :)

Brunch at the restaurant where V works (more yummy food) and then farewells to Momma and Daddy. It was so good to see them. Being so far away seems to make time between visits longer than they actually are. We saw my family in January but here it is April and it feels like much longer than 3 months. We want to get back to the west coast sooner than later..

Next, T and I headed off to see DD, another friend from GU. We went to the Cafe Mermaid for a snack (being very full from brunch) and walked on the beach. Ahh, how sweet it is to catch up with old friends! As fun as it is to make new friends, it's always fun to reminisce with friends who have been there at formative periods of your life.
While walking on the beach, we found an OCTOPUS! A real one! We figured he got stranded there between high and low tide. DD just wanted to poke it and play with its tentacles, but T and I saved it (with my flip flop). At least, we hope we did. Maybe it was sick and oozed up onto the shore to die in the sun.. oh well. :)

Sunday evening we had dinner with with Mr & Mrs JMFV (I'm still excited that I remember all his names). We just love them and it was so good to see them! They took us to a fabulous Mexican restaurant--we've been missing good Mexican food. It's not something one finds very often in New England.

After dinner, T and I went back to my sister's place and we all three (plus two of V's best friends) watched the movie Enchanted. We thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a clever parody of any and all fairy tales but with enough respect for the hope in them to have a happy ending! Amy Adams has the princess bit down pat--voice, dancing, hands (especially the hands). It was a fun night of laughing all around! Even the morals of the movie were solid (i.e., the lawyer and his girlfriend don't sleep together). Highly recommended! :)

Finally, after several more email attempts to meet up with a certain vocalist all weekend, we packed our bags Monday morning to return the car and head "home." It was an odd feeling, getting on the plane and heading east. We knew we were heading home, to our own home which we love, but we were leaving a home just as close and familiar (not my sister's apartment--the west coast and proximity to family). It's strange to feel so divided--not in a bad way, of course. We feel divided because we know we are supposed to be on the east coast at this point in our lives. But we also know we want to be closer to family and old friends. They (the proverbial "they," that is) say "Home is where the heart is." Can your heart be split between so many places? Boston, CA, WA (east and west), even TX and AL?

BUT! We had an absolutely amazing visit and it was wonderful and blessed and full of joy and happiness. We'll get back "out west" one of these days... here's hopin'!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Things I Like About Cold Weather

But before I get to those, I'd like to admit that I am ready for spring to arrive. I'm not "sick" of the cold yet, but I think I'd like to change out my warm clothes for summer-y clothes... that's one thing I like about having seasons. By the time it gets cold in the fall, I'm ready for the cold. When March or April rolls around, I'm ready for things to start thawing out and I want to wear flip flops again. So, before the cold leaves New England entirely, I'd like to write a bit on the cold's behalf. 1) I like hot drinks. Tea. Hot Chocolate. Coffee (breve's!). Hot Buttered Rum. :) There's nothing quite like coming in from the cold, wet, windy outside world to a nice warm house to sit down near a heater with a soothing cup of warmness to curl frozen fingers around. Though to be fair, when I was younger, during the summer my younger sister and I would go for starlight swims in our pool and when we were finished, we'd dry off and come inside. It was always "cold" inside the (air-conditioned) house, especially since we were wet. So, momma would make us Mexican hot chocolate and we'd sip it at the kitchen table while she told us stories or we watched cartoons. Mmm... 2) Warm, comfy clothes. As nice as it is to appear in public in a pretty sundress and sandals, I still thoroughly enjoy wrapping myself up in layers of warm clothing (except for long-johns. Those can be irritating). I love to wear sweaters and scarves and gloves and jackets. It's fun to go outside and romp in the cold with rosy cheeks and puffing breath, stomping around in boots and fluffy coats. Then, when you're done romping, it's just as great to come inside and unwind the scarves and unwrap the layers and sit around with friends while drinking hot beverages (see 1 above). 3) SNOW!! I LOVE THE SNOW! It's pretty when it's falling; it's fun to walk in or ski/snowboard on; it's pretty to look at when the sun is out; it's just great. I know most people 'round here don't like the snow, but I think that's because there are too many cars here. If there were fewer cars, or fewer streets for that matter, there would be more pretty snow and less ugly (dirty) snow. Also, if it's snowing, that usually means it's pretty cold outside, which makes for optimum situations as described in number 1 above. 4) Snuggling. I know, I know--but I have to put it in. It's just not fun to sleep next to someone when it's hot and humid in your bedroom! That's all. 5) Covers and blankets. I love to sleep (just ask T). If it were a competitive sport, I may have done that in high school rather than cross-country. One of the best things about sleep is being comfortably wrapped in clean, crisp, fluffy covers. After a long day working, cleaning, or walking all over somewhere, it's simply lovely to insinuate myself between our favorite sheets and feel my body relax into the mattress. zzzzzzz... Um, so.. those are some reasons why I like cold weather. There are others, but I think most of them are variations of these. And again, having said all that in favor of cold, I'm ready to don a sundress and sandals and put on sunblock once again. Good thing T and I are going to CA this weekend so he can present his paper on Lonergan's idea of bias. More on that later..

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

People at Mass

T and I have been attending daily Mass for a few months now, and it is always a joy to see so many people there. Also, when you go to the same Mass for a while, you tend to notice the "regulars." One woman there reminds T and me a lot of my young niece, L. She is very happy looking and child-like and a just a little plump in the face. She always has the beginnings (or remnants?) of a smile and her gestures and movements are "curious" and innocent the same way a child's are. Her bangs are cut short in the front which frames her face in a way reminiscent of L. We like her very much. I think her favorite color is green because she had the same green coat all winter, and often now I see her in green pants, green shirt, and green vest. I like green too! After receiving the Eucharist, she always seems so peaceful walking back to her seat. She always looks so grateful to receive it. She seems content with life. There is another lady who attends the same Mass we do--a delightful older lady (with white-white hair) who is always smiling. I love to shake her hand at the kiss of peace because you can tell she really wants to share God's peace with you. She says hi to us after Mass and asks how we are doing. She wishes us well when she leaves, still smiling. But I can't forget the priests! BC is a Jesuit university and the resident Jesuit priests usually say the morning Masses. I think they have a schedule worked out as to who says what Mass when, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. It doesn't matter really, since they're all good priests. One priest must be very old. Everything he says comes out sounding tired--a good kind of tired though. The kind you feel after a hard day's work, when all you want to do is rest your head and let sleep seep through your body. I think he has done a lot of hard work in his life, physically and spiritually. Sometimes it's hard to understand him, but I can tell he's in love with his Church, his Bride. Another priest is very much like the smiling old lady--they even look like they may be related, but of course that could be because they have the same kind of smile wrinkles! He gave a very nice homily one day, even though he chided himself for not speaking about the Gospel. He told about a ride on the T here in Boston and a sweet young man who rode with him. The young man was mentally handicapped, but very cheerful, and came and sat next to this priest, innocently holding his hand, the whole trip. The priest even decided to stay on the train past his stop if the young man didn't get off before he did. When the young man did leave, he told the priest, "You're a very nice man. Have a good day!" How beautiful to see the world that way. Another woman there, probably middle-aged, once wore a Scottish kilt to Mass! She has a strong, deep voice, and I like to hear her do the readings (which she does frequently). She sounds like the kind of person the prophets would have chosen to proclaim their message. She believes what she read, too. And, of course, there's T--my own love. I love going to Mass with him. It's always better with him there. Sometimes we hold hands a lot, sometimes not at all. We always give each other a quick kiss at the kiss of peace (why not?), and at Communion, he always lets me go first. I never asked to go first, and I certainly don't mind going after him.. I guess it's just one way he shows his consideration and love for me. I love to watch him pray and to see him receive the Eucharist. I love to unite my heart to his in the perfect prayer of the Mass. I love to be a follower of Christ with my soul mate. (Ok, enough sappy-ness. Sorry!) So here's to beautiful people at Mass! How beautiful is the Body of Christ!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Good Article..

I hope this school is able to keep going. All the children with autism that I've known are wonderful children and become beautiful adults. Here's to the love families can provide.

In Like a Lion...

Well, here it is April 1st and spring is on its way (we hope). March didn't quite go "out like a lamb" but it certainly left more spring-y than it arrived. Yesterday was a cool (not frigid!) and rainy 37 degrees, and today it's warmed up quite a bit and feels positively balmy out! It's blustery today, too--a nice refreshing spring zephyr.

Despite the lamb-ish-ness of receiving a lamb butter mold in the mail (it's still Easter--it counts!), the end of March would probably have felt more lamb-ish if I had prepared better for the rain. I didn't check the weather in the morning, which was my first mistake, and I had never bought another umbrella after my pretty sunshine-y yellow one broke a couple months ago :( When it started raining while I was at work, I realized just how unprepared I was.
I wore a light-weight jacket, which wasn't too much of a problem, but it was silk and shouldn't get wet. Oops.
I wore pants that look really weird when they get wet. The material sort of puckers and looks diseased--especially when it becomes flecked with wet dirt.
I wore my old black heels that have a crack in the bottom sole. Normally I'm pretty good about only wearing those shoes on sunny days (since they're still pretty sturdy shoes) but not yesterday. Oops again.
Luckily I was able to borrow an umbrella from the office and didn't get too wet going home. I hung my pants and stockings up to dry when I got home and sat down in some comfortable sweats to make cards. Birthday Season is coming for our families (the only two months that aren't "birthday season" are February and March), and I'm getting ahead of the game a bit!

This umbrella is just like the one I borrowed. The photo's from an engagement photo shoot of two BC alums. :)