Wednesday, December 28, 2011

scope for imagination

Once upon a time, I played Bingo every Thursday with a group of delightful women at a nursing home. Have you ever played Bingo with elderly ladies? Until you play Bingo with elderly ladies you will never know what Jo March went through taking care of her Aunt March. Don't get me wrong, I will love my Bingo ladies until the day I die. But it's rather startling to see how playing a simple game of Bingo will bring out the competitive and petty sides of people. Even 90-year-old ladies.

But they also taught me a really valuable lesson--they gave me the secret to aging well. The secret to aging well--or just to life in general--is a healthy dose of perspective and humor. If you have the ability to put things in perspective and to laugh off the small trials and tribulations of everyday life, then you can sail through life with grace.

This here offers a healthy dose of perspective:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

jumpstart my kaleidoscope heart

So, I was wandering in a used bookstore after work today, and I was snuffling about the mystery section, when i found I had wandered into the poetry section. I picked up a W.H. Auden book, because I've never read much of him. And I feel that that's just what you're supposed to do in a used bookstore, you know? You're almost literally required to pick up a book of an author you've always heard of, crack open the tome, and give it a whirl.

So I opened the dog-eared book open to this poem. And I was instantly charmed.

O Tell Me the Truth About Love

Some say that love's a little boy,
And some say it's a bird,
Some say it makes the world go round,
And some say that's absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn't do.

Does it look like a pair of pajamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does it's odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway-guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
it wasn't ever there:
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton's bracing air.
I don't know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn't in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all it's time at the races,
Or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of it's own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I'm picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my shoes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lo How a Rose 'Ere Blooming

We spent the whole day working on the gingerbread house. It's Pacha's House/hill from Emperor's New Groove.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

She's a beaut, that's for sure. But some years you get done with the gingerbread house, and you never want to see candy or icing again. This is one of those years.

Annnd now the fam's about to head to Vigil Mass.
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Christmas Eve is my fave. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

900 Ways to Kill a Canary [excerpt]

That part of your brain that regulates pumpkin pie moments or in some deep, mysterious part of you that is somewhere else entirely.

There is a small hollow in the curve of one’s wrist, where two fingers, resting gently on the skin, can feel the small and steady thump-thump of their own heart. A person can actually put a finger on the rhythm of our own life. She can touch the beat of the drum that her life marches to.

Oh heartbeat, sustain the weight of Atlas’ globe.

Written in small slender script on this hollow are four little letters. L.O.V.E. Underneath the white skin, the heartbeat surges each day. And lifts up and down in rhythm to its being—“Love.” The heart beats in love. The blood surges through the arteries in Love. I am in Love and out of it I will not go. All that the body is, it owes to Love. The heart beats, because it is loved. The only reason that the little heartbeat is even pounding is Love. And Love is what the small heart is called to do. Love is its raison d’être. Its animae. Its life. Its breath. That simple and tender heart beats over one hundred thousand times a day, and each time it beats, it beats in order to love. It beats to love all the other heartbeats in the world. Written on her arm is a reminder that she lives in Love, and safe in His arms she will remain. That she was created in Love and that she was born to love to others.

The world is too harsh to house such a creature.

There is a delicate stasis in a human person. There is such a small point of balance in the human’s body—such a tiny place of rest between death on both sides. Life is a dance. Life is a tender and delicate tightrope walk, that is devastatingly susceptible to crashing and burning, but is capable of the most incredible stunts and adept at making the crowds gasp with its death-defying feats of grandeur.

And that’s why she writes love on her arm.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

all I want for Christmas...

Is a $500 etsy painting...

I was shopping for my little sisters when I happened upon this gorgeous painting. Then I realized I love my sisters, but this present will have to wait until I'm rich and famous (or just mostly rich).

But for some reason, this painting and its price tag struck me as bizarre. I showed it to my mom, and she pin-pointed the oddity in a painting like that. Because, you'd think a person that would spend $500 on a painting wouldn't necessarily want to be spending it on a painting depicting a scene from a Disney Princess movie. True. But I counter with the fact that that is the most beautiful scene ever depicted in a Disney movie. It's beautiful. Also, while we're on the subject of luxury Disney items that we shouldn't like nearly as much as we do, this season's collections of Disney Bridal Gowns came to my attention.

Like it.
Leave it.
Moving on.

Although the moving on part is tough. Amazon keeps sending me e-mails with "great deals!" on Giselle Barbies, Aurora costumes, and every and any Disney Princess accoutrement a young girl (or a 20-year-old) could desire. You know me too well, Amazon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

famines of thought and feeling

There are some songs/movies/books/poetry, etc. that make you come alive; that make you want to run, or jump, or dance, or hug something, or cry or laugh, or sigh, or do all three all at the same time. They just make you want to DO something.
This is one of those songs/scenes:

And then there's that Lord of the Rings video I posted so recently. 
But it completely deserves to be re-posted.

Because, there was one time I was feeling blah and drab. I felt like a plant that was wilting, not for lack of water or food, but just because of lack of spirit to stand upright. And then, at a happy moment of inspiration, Gandalf's words came to me, and it was like sunshine coming from the outside into the dark cavern of my spirit. (The Cave, yo. Referencin' The Cave. Total PLS Move). Moments of grace, we call those. 
Moments of grace. 
The Guernsey Lit. Soc., etc. was one of those books that's just completely full of simple, countrified grace. This quote from the Guernsey Lit. Soc, etc. was one of my favorites:

"through some queer sort of intuition, I always know where she is, just as I know where my hands are--and if I didn't, I should be sick with worry."

Juliet is writing of her maternal feelings for Kit. And with that one quote, she describes not only what mothers feel in a very strong and concentrated way for their children, but what it means to love someone. After reflecting upon this quote, I have come to the realization that knowing where someone is is sort of an essential part of caring about someone. If you don't really particularly enjoy someone than you couldn't care less where they are, just so long as it's not anywhere in your particular vicinity. But when you care about someone, you want to know where they are. Not in a creepy, friend-tracking-app kind of way, but just in a general sense. In a comfortable, cozy way. When you know where someone is, they're not as far away.

Monday, December 19, 2011

bright day is done and we are for the dark

First Book of Break:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
-Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a tale that lives up to every inch of its delightfully quaint and haphazard little title. This epistolary novel, with hints and inspirations of Alcott and flavors of Anne of Green Gables, tells of how the glamorous young authoress Juliet Ashton thinks she has found the inspiration for her Next Big Work in the endearing and quirky inhabitants of Guernsey, but by entering into the seemingly simple and homespun world of the small channel island, gets much more than she bargained for.

A twist of fate brings one of Juliet's old Charles Lamb books into the possession of one Dawsey Adams, an Islander, and a correspondence ensues that eventually changes Juliet from an "Outlander" to an Islander. Despite Juliet's life in London, complete with teas and book signings, dodgy muckrakers, a new flat to replace her old apartment (a victim of the London Blitzkrieg), and elegant-with-a-touch-of-danger-and-typical-American-overbearingness suitor, she is intrigued by the dark-eyed Island man's fascinating tales of the Germans' occupation of Guernsey during the War, and the quiet and but persistent resistance efforts of the habitants of the island.

One of the most delicious features of the book is its epistolary format. There's nothing more intimate or character-informing than letter-writing, and it's much more egalitarian. It gives each character a chance to speak their mind, and how they write letters to different characters speaks volumes about their feelings for them. And it's a literary junkie's delight. The Islanders discover Seneca, the Brontës, Chaucer, Christie, and Austen, and their deft summaries of and encounters with each are a joy.

At the beginning of the novel, various members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society at the behest of Mrs. Amelia Maugery, their ringleader, as it were, write Juliet letters regarding the occupation and the Society. One of my favorites is Mr. Clovis Fossey's treatise on poetry and courtship, which I think give an accurate sample of the book's spirit:

"Then in 1942 I started to court the Widow Hubert. When we'd go for a walk, she'd march a few steps ahead of me on the path and never let me take her arm. She let Ralph Murchey take her arm, so I knew I was failing in my suit.

Ralph, he's a bragger when he drinks, and he said to all in the tavern, "Women like poetry. A soft word in their ears and they melt--a grease spot on the grass." That's no way to talk about a lady, and I knew right then he didn't want the Widow Hubert for her own self, the way I did. He wanted only her grazing land for his cows. So I thought--If it rhymes the Widow Hubert wants, I will find me some.

I went to see Mr. Fox in his bookshop and asked for some love poetry. He didn't have many books left by that time--so he gave me some fellow named Catullus. He was a Roman. Do you know the kind of things he said in verse? I knew I couldn't say those words to a nice lady.[...] I told my friend Eben I never saw such spiteful stuff. He said to me I had just not read the right poets. He took me to his cottage and lent me a little book of his own. It was the poetry of Wilfred Owen. He was an officer in the First World War, and he knew what was what and called it by its right name. I was there, too, at Passchendaele, and I knew what he knew, but I could never put it into words for myself.

Well, after that, I though there might be something to this poetry after all. I began to go to meetings, and I'm glad I did, else how would I have read the works of William Wordsworth--he would have stayed unknown to me. I learned many of his poems by heart.
Anyway I did win the hand of the Widow Hubert--my Nancy. I got her to go for a walk along the cliffs one evening, and I said, "Lookie there, Nancy. The gentleness of Heaven broods o'er the sea--Listen the mighty Being is awake." She let me kiss her. She is now my wife.

Yours truly,
Clovis Fossey"

It's the most adorable, insightful, homespun-ly wise book I've read in ages. It's one of those books that breaks your heart, because you wish every single character in the book was real. And all you want is to sit down with Isola, and get the entire inside scoop of all the doings and comings in St. Martin's parish, talk to Sidney about Oscar Wilde, walk along the cliffs with Dawsey and Juliet and see the sun sparkle and dance on the channel's water, and play with small little Kit, and receive lessons in lisp-ing. Utterly delightful.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

all it needs is a little love

There she is, ladies and gents. The fruit of a morning's labor and diligent search. We arrived at the tree lot a little before lunch, and vowed not stop until we found the perfect tree. We looked here and we looked there. We flirted with the idea of buying several different trees. We searched high and we searched low. And suddenly, we found him.

As soon as I saw the tree, I knew we could have no other. It positively screamed: "Pick me! I belong to you!" I was struck by the sense that this tree embodied everything a Christmas tree of ours should embody. I was overwhelmed by the sense that this tree was made for us. I've never felt that way about a Christmas tree before, but I went with the feeling. I pulled on my sister's sleeve and drew her attention to the tree. "That's perfect," she responded. "It's ours," said my other sister. "Ewwwww, I hate it!" cried the sassy one, "it has a broken branch." And so it did. "It just needs a little love," protested my dad. We all examined every part of the tree. Despite (because of?) the broken branch, it was just the perfect tree. It was the epitome of all the other trees we ever had over the years, wrapped in one beautiful Christamas-scented balsam fir.

We decided to search around and make sure that we absolutely wanted this one. But there was no fighting it. The tree was made for us, and therefore we bought it. We brought it home, and lovingly set it in its place of honor in the family room. And there it sits, as pretty as a picture. Right where it belongs.

Moral of the story: in all of life's decisions, trust your instincts. They're usually dead-on. Especially when it comes to Christmas trees.

***Update: Our tree now has a name (duh. don't you name your Christmas trees?). It is Ivan Theodore (Teddy for short).***

Saturday, December 17, 2011

tirra lira by the river

So, one of my roommates has had an awful influence on my vocabulary. Like she does, whenever I get overwhelmed by emotion, I start speaking in exclamations. Like this:

Ah! Home! Christmas! Snow! Snow snow snow snow!!

When I hopped off the bus, there was snow falling from the sky in beautiful bunches of flakes. The happiest. It made me want to run and fly and leap and jump and make dozens of beautiful beautiful snow angels.

Since I dozed to my heart's content on the bus, I got home and was not a bit sleepy. So, first off I scrounged around the kitchen to find the perfect dinner. In the spirit of "shoot-I've-totally-spent-more-money-than-I've-meant-to-and-Christmas-presents-still-need-to-be-bought" I decided not to eat Panda Express, although I've been craving Chinese food for a week straight. When scavenging through the bread basket, I happened upon the leftover St. Lucia's day rolls, and I "merf"ed with delight. How I missed St. Lucia's day.

After my impromptu midnight dinner, I decided to casually wash the dishes while all of us chatted around the kitchen table. My favorite part of washing dishes in our house is that there is inevitably a shotglass or two sitting next to the sink. And the shotglass usually contains the remnants of my parents' osteoporosis medicine or "joint juice" as they like to call it. That, in a nutshell is why I'm so glad to be home. Nothing like a Friday night with the clan. I'm in love with my parents and their crazy partyin' ways.

So happy to be back. Leaving school this semester was the hardest it's ever been. I was packing and I kept thinking: "I'm not ready to go, I don't want to leave." I'm already looking forward to going back. But being home is marvelous, and the feeling of having literally nothing hanging over your head--no work to be done, no projects to be finished-- is just the best feeling ever. I can't wait for the crazy four weeks that await us here at home. There's no place like home sweet home for the holidays.

Monday, December 12, 2011

the strange un-reality of comfort food

Have you ever had that moment where you're sitting in the dining hall, surrounded by hundreds of other students studying/procrastinating, eating your chicken poppers; and, as you dip your chicken into the barbecue sauce and pop it in your mouth you suddenly are hit by the lightening bolt of a realization that what you're experiencing right now is the farthest thing from reality?

Oh yeah. I know. Common occurrence, right?

But seriously, that's not really what life is about. Life isn't about eating chicken poppers in the dining hall. Life is about climbing mountains and running across the quad with your arms outstretched like airplanes. It's about dancing on tables in the rain. It's about running away and coming home. It's about eating newly-falled snow and letting the small little flakes fill your mouth with feelings of Christmas. It's about laughing so hard you cry and it's about snuggling down to watch It's a Wonderful Life on a cold snowy night. It's about fighting battles and loosing them. It's about smiling when you feel like crying and it's about giving someone a hug when you can't find anything to say. Sometimes you just have to dance around your room, because the great grandeur of life overwhelms you.

Life is so much more bright and grand and brilliant than chicken poppers lead us to believe.

Friday, December 9, 2011

a delicate stasis

It always snows on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Walking out into the enclosed yard.
The green grass and tree, the mud and the rocks are covered in a shroud--
Delicate and diaphanous, but slowly thickening.
Minuscule microscopic hexagons- gelid paragons of beauty
Accumulate on the ground.

Descending from the sky, in immutable silence.
The calm of the evening intensified and solidified by the falling flakes.
The snow caps the top of the picket fence-
Small, snowy Everests, and we at their feet.
Hushed, we dance in the snow.

The cold goes unnoticed,
The snow sings in silence-
Magical whirls of joy flit through the air-
Trembling trepidation reverberating with each flake.
Christmas snow, wrapping the world in a fluffy blanket.

It always snows on the feast of Mary.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

take me out of the woods

This is so great.
Let this fill you with happiness as we approach the end of classes.


Christmas is coming.

But, dude, before we can even think about Christmas, I should write a post about Advent.

But I should study for finals more...

But Advent > finals.

(But finals effect my GPA more than Advent.)


This is that point when I re-watch the video.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jack!

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. " --C.S. Lewis

Monday, November 28, 2011

your beauty trumped my doubt

It's a cold, blustery, late November day. Definitely a day for Mumford. Lots and lots of Mumford and Sons.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

framed with disclaimers

Life is about making choices. For example, when you fall asleep on the couch watching Sweeney Todd, and then awake at 3:30 am and have to wake up again at 6:45 am, the way I see it, you really have two options.

Option A)
Say "Oh fudge it all" and go to bed in your warm, comfy, big, downy, soft, warm bed because it's the last time you can do so until Christmas break.
Pros: You get to sleep in your warm, comfy-cozy bed, with its lambs-wool soft sheets and big squishy comforter.
Cons: Your sister the infamous blanket-thief/duvet-hog is already there. Is your warm bed really worth a few measly hours of blanket-deprived, foot-freezing pseudo-sleep?
Cons: Wait, have you done laundry yet?
Final Con: Wait, have you finished packing yet?

Option B)
Watch Pushing Daisies while doing laundry/finishing packing. (And I think it's sadly though abundantly clear that this is the option I'm going with.) At the moment, everything I have to take back to school is in a large, intimidating ring surrounding my suitcase. I'm taking this in baby steps, here. Just one foot in front of the other, here. Lee Pace is keeping me company; together we will get everything packed that needs to get packed.

We have two hours: ready. set. GO.

(P.S. Title cred to Rebecs)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

serene and kindly countenance

Dear Peeps:

Just arrived back at the domicile from Mass with mi hermana. Now Mass is usually pretty legit, but this one was fantastic. Like many of the most bestest masses, it was one where the homily discoursed on absolutely *everything* I've been thinking about over the past weeks. My sister's review of the homily: "It was kind of all over the place," Maybe, but that's because Father literally hit up every single subject that has been on my mind. I kept poking my poor sister, because he kept stealing all my thoughts and putting them into words. Fantastic. Amazing.

He used the new translation of the Mass as kind of a jumping-off point to talk about beauty and reverence, which brought him to the importance of the liturgy as a sacrament, which then brought him to talk about the sacraments as the heart of our faith. I was internally jumping up and down in my seat.

Recently, I was in class, and the professor claimed that social justice was just as important and integral to the Catholic faith as the sacraments. While I see what he was trying to say, I just balk at the wording. Christ in the Eucharist is not just central to our faith, or important, or a somewhat-interesting feature of our faith. It is our faith. I should say, rather that He is our faith. The Eucharist is not just "a thing" or an "important thing" it is the Only Thing. Love in action is at the root of the Catholic Church, I'll give you that. But the Eucharist is Love. And unless our actions are united to that love, they will dry up, we'll run out of steam. Mother Teresa always had her sisters spend time in the Eucharist each day. Because they were out in the streets, gettin' down 'n' dirty, and showing love in action in the most radical way possible. And they were able to pour themselves out for others because of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source. Everything follows from that.
It was Father's little meditation on what it means to love Christ, through the liturgy, through the church, through our own personal encounters with Him. Although, he reminded us, we never enter into prayer alone. Prayer in its very essence is communion. It was beautiful.

And then, the new translation.
In the words of Kuzco, BOOM, BABY.
It's good.
Oh it is good.
It is G-O-O-D.
It is so freaking beautiful.
The phrases are just pure music crystallized in prose.
The Eucharistic Prayer? It is bomb. It's the

"graciously accept this oblation of our service"
"precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands"

How can your very being not be moved by such poetry incarnated. The words inundate you, seep into your soul, and wash over you in a mesmerizing wave of grace.

It makes me feel like dancing. It's just that beautiful. Don't believe me? Come see for yourself. You'll leave with that happy feeling in your feet and that tappity feeling in your toes.

Mass Success.

[/end Nerdy Catholic Rant]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

returning feet and voices at the door

Home. Home home home home home home home.
I'm home.
Lovely, lovely, glorious, marvelous, perfect, wonderful, joyful, lovely, blessed, happy, fantastic, superb, lovely, beautiful, happiest feeling.

We walked in the door at 3am this morning. I had slept for about eight of the ten-ish hours we were driving (They didn't allow me to drive. Something about my driving skills leaving much to be desired...? IDK and IDC. I got to sleep. Fastest. Car ride. Evverrrr), so I bounced in the door fresh as a daisy.

The lovely thing about being home is that everything is right where you expect it to be. All the familiar foods are in the cabinet, all the familiar people are where they ought to be. And there are little new things that surprise you, like the pretty new couch, or the pretty new car. (My sister and I jumped in the car yesterday to go shopping. "Have you driven this before?" she asked anxiously. "Naw. Guess I'll just figure it out as I go along," I responded nonchalantly, and then sat back and enjoyed the mini-panic attack she had.

As soon as I woke up in the morning, I was pounced upon by the mini-kids and taken to the kitchen where we sat down for an intensely competitive round of their newest addition to the game cabinet: Ratuki (I'm just gonna throw it out there that I won. But who's counting?).

Highlight of my day: my little sister (the sassy one) gave me a big hug as I was walking out the door to go Christmas shopping with mom. And then she said: "You smell pretty."
Cue the Heart Melt.

I love being home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

blinking in the starlight

Roommate and I just spent unhealthy amounts of time wistfully poring through images of Disney Princesses at Disney World.
I want this job so badly.
It's an issue.

Friday, November 18, 2011

season of mists

Butterfly, fly home
Ascend to where you will find rest
Flitting from flower to flower
This world is too harsh to house such a creature,
Ethereal, you transcend.
Yet your wings-brightly colored-are woven in the fabric of the world.
Relentless, the end arrives for all things-
even you, fragile butterfly.
But death is not a butterfly's swan song.
On the other side of the dark is light
Fly to it, butterfly-
With your heart racing,
Your wings pounding,
Your soul yearning.
Your song blending, melting, merging
becoming one
with the Light.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

shadows of fluttering leaves

"I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you-the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them and what came through them was longing. These things-the beauty, the memory of our own past-are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. DO you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them."
"But we pine. The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last."
--The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

raving over writing-desks

Adventures in Narcolepsy

There was one night (that'd be Sunday night, matter of fact) where I did not actually get any sleep. That was cool.
And bonus: it made Monday super exciting.
I went to my first class Monday morning. I was on time. I was awake. I was alert. It was fantastic.

And everything was downhill from there.

Seminar was mega struggs. I was awake for approximately 10.2 minutes of that class. The remaining 89.8 minutes were spent with my head bobbing up and down, wandering in and out of consciousness. When I woke up, I would cast a sheepish, apologetic smile at my professor, and attempt to listen to the conversation. See, when I say "class" I mean that there are nine of us sitting around a table talking about the books. Thus said, it's mucho difficil (aka impossible) to get away with nodding off and flying under the radar. Our prof. is, however, fresh out of school with a shiny new PhD, and he is extremely sympathetic to the student condition, and totally understands that sleep is hard to come by. I made a rousing last-ditch attempt at the end of class to end on a high note. So I pulled out a stock C.S. Lewis quote (Aside: you need at least 10 C.S. Lewis quotes at hand at all times-you'll be able to use them for anything. Literally anything. A prepared woman is a woman who has the sense to carry lip balm and safety pins in her purse, and a few Lewis quotations in her mind. A woman who lives according to these standards is invincible, unflappable, can overcome any obstacle, and nothing will ever phase her.) and made a point that related to the bits I had overheard of the conversation. Embarrassing.
That night, I was in the lobby of my dorm, flipping through my psychology book and watching Sunday in the Park with George on my computer. The next morning, I woke up in my bed, and I had absolutely no recollection of how I'd gotten there. So college, right?
The only thing I remembered was my friend talking to me in my room saying: "Do you wanna get lunch tomorrow? Okay...will you remember this in the morning?"
We were at lunch, and I casually brought up: "Wait. Were you in my room last night? And did you ask me to get lunch?"
Apparently, she heard music that "sounded like Mary Poppins" coming from the lobby, and found me fast asleep in front of my computer with the movie still playing. She woke me up, and I started babbling about the princess that was on my back, but it didn't matter, because I didn't have much homework. (I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.) And she related to me a whole conversation that I have no recollection of. She left and then when she came back a few minutes later, I was asleep again. So, she helped me to my room, and that's how I found my way to bed. Apparently, if you get less than 5 hours of sleep for 5 consecutive nights, you start to act like you have a BAC of .08.
I may have just proved that theory.
It's been really, really windy recently. Like, you can lean into the wind and it will hold you up type windy. Like, I might get carried off to Oz by this wind type windy. So, I was carrying coffee and a poster that I didn't want to spill the coffee on. In the same hand. Because that's just how smart I am.
Naturally, to avoid being blown over by the wind, or, more importantly, having the coffee blown onto the poster, I started to so that my back was facing the wind. I walked like this for a while, and then I started noticing that people who passed me kept giving me weird looks. I couldn't figure out why, until I remembered that I was walking backwards. I guess that's not something real people do. Whoops.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

no swiss cheese for us please

God's sense of humor is bitingly keen this morning.

Approximately 48 minutes ago, I turned in my study abroad application!
London, here I come! (hopefully)
Then, I put on my white blouse, cardigan and heels, and clip-clopped my way down to this conference. (Which was mistaken by my friend as a "party of smart people" and religious. Lots and lots of religious. Although no Missionaries of Charity have been sighted. Yet.)
Anyhow, I'm now sitting in a colloquium on University of Education. This very last presenter is the head of the Office of International Studies, and she is currently discussing internationalization and study abroad in the context of a Catholic university tradition.

The irony is so thick, I think it would take a machete to slice through it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

beautiful and blended with immeasurable sorrow

Cry like a baby every time.

To the sea, to the sea! The white gulls are crying,
The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying.
West, west away, the round sun is falling,
Grey ship, grey ship, do you hear them calling,
The voices of my people that have gone before me?
I will leave, I will leave the woods that bore me;
For our days are ending and our years failing.
I will pass the wide waters lonely sailing.
Long are the waves on the Last Shore falling,
Sweet are the voices in the Lost Isle calling,
In Eressea, in Elvenhome that no man can discover,
Where the leaves fall not: land of my people forever--J.R.R. Tolkein

Love it.
How can your soul not be pierced with gladness when Gandalf says "white shores, and beyond" and the violins start playing the most mournfully glad tune you've ever heard.
The awe-ful thing about that song is that it makes you want to be a part of its music. It calls to you, and you want to completely soak it in, absorb it, become one with it. It's so beautiful, and all your soul longs for- needs- need is to join in it's beauty.
It fills your heart with longing for the white shores you've never seen.
But one day you will. And that's the promise that the music sings to you.
One day, we'll be there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

over the misty mountains tall

Not to get side-tracked, but I just examined the cast list for The Hobbit movies and had approximately eleventy-one fangirl moments. Stephen Fry? Playing the Master of Laketown? perfect! Richard Armitage?! Playing Thorin Oakenshield!?!? Richard. Freaking. Armitage. Let the countdowns begin!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

that is how I am like

I was outside Lyons having a typical Tuesday night meltdown.
As I sat on the steps with my head in my hands, and I heard a voice ask:
"Are you okay?"
I looked up, and there was a person wearing a puffy North Face and basketball shorts with earbuds in one ear. Typical Notre Dame.
I responded:
"Oh yeah, I'm fine."
Human beings are ridiculous. There I was, looking like an idiot, with rainy, frizzed-out hair and tears running down my cheeks, and I tried to pretend that I had my life together. How utterly comical. What bizarre reflex exists in us that makes us act like we know what we're doing even when we're as lost as anteaters in a mirror maze? It's the armor we wrap ourselves in, and can't bring ourselves to let go of.
"Are you sure?"
"Oh yeah, I'm good."
He walked away, and I continued to sit and stare at the lights reflecting on the lake. He turned around and came back.
"You look like you could use a hug," he said, and then he wrapped his arms around me in a giant bear hug.
I was so touched. So moved. So gladdened. I was just so completely overwhelmed by kindness. How beautifully wonderful of him to just reach out to someone he didn't know, and bring a little bit of happiness into their life. He's a light bearer, that one.
People are just so amazingly lovely.

Monday, November 7, 2011

they'll bark at our shadows

Over the past two nights, I've averaged 2.5 hours of sleep each night.


Today was actually not as bad as I expected. I overslept my first class (whoops), but that gave me time to shower (like a real person), put on a cute sweater and high heels, and actually prepare for my day. And I functioned fairly normally.

Until 3:00 pm seminar rolled around, and everything became really, really, really, hopelessly funny. We made a Land Before Time reference in relation to Augustine's Confessions. #totalPLSmove

Last year, my sleeplessness was almost a point of pride.

I could stay up until 2 am and then wake up at 8:30 am and function like a normal, happy healthy human being.

Theory A: I think I used to have super powers.

Theory B: I used to be younger. That was back long long ago when I was a teenager.

But I promise (scout's honor, Mom) that I've lost all sense of pride in the the fact that I don't sleep.

Screw pride. I want sleep.

Pride doesn't get you through the day without three cups of coffee.

Pride doesn't leave you feeling fresh as daisy and new as a baby bird right out of the shell.

Pride doesn't give you that delightful, delicious sensation that falling asleep brings.

And It's definitely not as soft and cozy as a pillow and a comforter.

Now the lack of sleep makes my heart cry out in protest.

My body begs for sleep. But my soul groans under the burden of homework.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. So weak.

And so sleepy (mostly sleepy).

Have you ever looked at a pile of books at 10:00 pm and realized you had to read them all before 9:30 the next morning?

It's not a happy experience.

Your heart sinks into your stomach, tears form in your eyes and you start to crave Nutella

(God bless you, Nutella. God bless you. I think my roommate and I have gone through two large Costoco 26.5 oz jars this semester and at least five 13 oz jars. And when I say "my roommate and I" I mean mostly me.

But it's so beautiful.

It is my one constant joy in a world full of insomniac pain.

So chocolatey.

So smooth, sensuous, and sweet.

It fills your mouth with pure euphoria.

And then you get a wicked stomach ache the next morning, which complements your caffeine-hangover headache and dark circles under your eyes perfectly.)

All that stands between me and sleep is a paper. One paper. One page of one paper. I can do this. And you know why? Because on the other side of this paper is sleep.

The best feeling in the whole wide world is when you're puttering around your room, straightening a bit, cleaning a bit, brushing your teeth, and getting ready for bed. Because you know that in just a few short, sweet minutes, you will be sleeping.


And absolutely nothing can stop you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

oh heartbeat, sustain the weight of Atlas' globe

What are your dreams?

And sometimes, the Dreams overwhelmed her. They filled her soul and bubbled over, tumbling and turning tumultuously, churning the fabric of her heart. They crested and broke like a thousand waves on the whitest sands. The Dreams ran ahead of her, darting through sun-streaked gardens of trees like elusive stags, always just out of reach, always just beyond her grasp. She followed until she was out of breath from running and laughing, until her song sucked all the air from her lungs. More would come, more would come, she knew. Inevitably, they did. Like violets, they sprung up at her feet without her noticing. They rushed into her arms when she least expected it. Dreams chased her down, and dogged her steps, and sewed themselves to the footprints of her shadow. Dreams followed her, as the twilight follows sunset; and as the stars follow them.

Like a butterfly, she hid. She hid in her soft, warm chrysalis, safe from harm, safe from fear, safe from the outside world. Nourished by nothing but her Dreams. Stay, she begged, let me stay here in my home. Outside there are winds and weather and wicked things. Inside I am safe. I am whole. But the Dreams whispered deep in her heart: You are alive. To be alive means to change, to be alive means to grow. It means to break apart and become whole again. No butterfly is born for a chrysalis. Each butterfly's wings are designed and known before the tiny caterpillar emerges from the egg. Your wings are coming, and they will not wait.

Which ones are mine? she asked.

There were hundreds. Maybe thousands. The Dreams sparkled and glittered and exploded with color. She laughed and she sang and as she skipped through them all, she looked at each one. The cloudy majestic Dream over there shouted her name in an echoing baritone; the small, shining one so close at hand whispered oh-so-softly: come see me, come see me; and the Dream that sparkled bright dazzling cerulean said nothing, but when she saw it, her breath caught in her throat. She reached out and touched a small golden Dream, and could feel its delicate fragility tremble under the featherweight pressure of her fingertips. Tears formed, she was left speechless in her Joy. The Dreams captured the light and molded the sunbeams into radiant prisms. The air was pulsing, vibrant with the love and life and the unending possibilities that emanated from the Dreams. The Dreams were calling her name, with promises that one day she would soar.

All of them were hers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

letters from a french squid

Dear Couple of the Entangled Limbs on the Quad:
Seriously? It's noon.
And Seriously? Get a room.
So happy you're in love.
Now get out of my line of vision.
Thanks. Bye.

Happily Single

P.S. I'm going to go eat my weight in chocolate while watching The Holiday. And I will have the most fun while doing it. The most fun. All of the fun.

Dear PLS:
Why can't I commit to you? And why can't I quit you? Why are you so intoxicatingly almost-perfect, but just bad enough that I don't want to be with you. You're intoxicating, exhausting, maddening, exhilarating, and utterly frustrating. And I love you for that.

Reluctant Hipster

Dear Autocorrect:

It's Lafun. Not Lacuna. Say it with me: Lafun. L.A.F.U.N.

Lacuna: |ləˈk(y)oōnə|
noun ( pl. -nae |-nī; -nē| or -nas )
Def.: an unfilled space or interval; a gap
Ex.: -There is a lacuna in your knowledge, Autocorrect, and that is the knowledge of the word "Lafun."
-When she didn't go to Lafun for a week, there was a lacuna in her heart that was empty of all joy.
noun (pl. n/a)
Def.: the student center at ND, which contains club offices, SAO meeting spaces, several restaurants and a food court, and thousands of sleep-deprived students.
Ex.: -Some traditions, like Lafun, should never be messed with.
-I pulled an all-nighter in Lafun.

Capiche? It's simps.

Procrastinating College Student

Dear Madeliene L'Engle:

None of us will escape the moment when we have to decide whether to withdraw, to play it safe, or to act upon what we prayerfully believe to be right.
Perhaps what we are called to do may not seem like much but....

Thank you for writing these words.

Just a Lil' Butterfly

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

quotidian marvels of astounding truths

"All we have to do is keep our wits about us and never forget our senses of humor."

"What better way is there to view the world than as a grand epic? We know how the story ends, and with that knowledge secure in our hearts, how can we but smile?"

--Noxious Marmoset

"'I cannot love a lie,' said the Lady. 'I cannot love the thing which is not. I am in Love, and out of it I will not go.'"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

leaving early to arrive late

Why can't I quit PLS? I want to-or do I? -yes-no-yes-no yesnoyesno. GAH.
I think I love the ideal of PLS. But just because I love the ideal doesn't mean I should major in it, right? Right? A question I've put to myself: Would C.S. Lewis be PLS? And a voice inside me is whispering: no. Shoot. I thought I was pretty set in my major, having settled down into a happy rhythm. But a lunch discussion today has made me start reconsidering again. *ANGST*

Well, I for sure know I won't switch to psychology. Psychology is ridiculous. For example, in the lecture on love (which, for the record, our professor [a definite romantic] professed he did not believe could be quantified by psychological experiences and phenomenon only.), we studied what different things men and women look for in relationships. Apparently, according to our professor, women want a challenge (No, my mind objected reflexively, women want to be cherished.). The case he brought up to prove this point was that when a group of women, were exposed to a group of men, 59% of them responded that they would be interested in dating him. BUT, when they were exposed to a man and told he had a girlfriend, 90% responded that they were interested in dating him. So, apparently, that means women like a challenge?

I would suggest otherwise. I think that means that

A) People are vain. It's frustrating knowing that although you're *clearly* the most beautiful woman in existence, a guy has the utter nerve to find a girl he thinks is more beautiful. Oh, the effrontery. Our poor little egos are wounded. We'll show them. After they spend a few hours in our dazzlingly entrancing company, they'll be dying to date us.

B) People like to know that the good they desire is perceived by the social group to be desirable. Because we're such utterly social creatures, we like to like the same things our friends like. That's why lemmings jump off cliffs. I mean, all the other lemmings are doing it. So, if every woman in the United States thought Shia LaBeouf was the most unattractive man ever, fewer women would want to date him. But since he is generally thought to be attractive by the collective group, obviously, someone who wouldn't necessarily be inclined to date him would be more prone to date him because of the status that it would give her. It's not so much about the challenge of dating him, it's the idea that dating him would give her status. Which, I suppose, relates back to the vanity.

Okayyyy, you're thinking, throttle down there, Simba. I guess that whole rant sounds a wee bit cynical and slightly majorly pessimistic. Clarification: I don't think most women (or people in general) operate in this manner. I also don't think that most men look soley for: ovulation, sexual responsiveness, warm smiles, and passion when choosing a someone to share their life with. I could be wrong though.

Women look for a man to cherish them. And men look for a woman to cherish them. And I think that men have more than one thing on their minds, and if they only have one thing on their minds, then they can't excuse themselves by pulling the gender card. They're better than that. I get that men are biologically wired differently than we are, but I'm also wired to be producing adorable little babies. Although my heart starts a-pitter-pattering every time I see a precious little one, that doesn't mean I go around acting in a promiscuous manner, or treating others as a means to reach my end desires.

[/End Gender Relations Soapbox Rant]

All this to say, I think psychology lacks what it takes to explain a lot of human phenomenon that common wisdom does a much better job explaining. I believe in intuition; I'd rather depend on intuition than logic. I love the Miss Marple manner of solving mysteries rather than Hercule Poirot's style. Because Miss Marple's onto something: people always act in astonishingly similar manners-human beings are very much alike in many ways. In fact, it is often easy to predict how a certain person will act based on what other persons they resemble. That's Old Lady intuition. It's the best kind to have. You can't reason it out, you can't back it up with Aquinas-style logic. It's sort of "touch-and-go" as they say. You just work it, own it, live it and love it.

P.S. Happy All Saints day!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

In honor of the holiday, you get to see the family's favorite Halloween costumes ever devised by my loving mother. My dear mother sent it to me, after reading my haikus. (She felt there was some reason I identified so deeply with sticks of butter.) She has gotten so much grief from me and my sister over the years for dressing us as a stick of butter and a peanut, respectively. (My younger brother seems not to have minded nor still mind being a jar of jelly. I personally think his costume makes him look like a small purple alien.) That Halloween, I definitely enjoyed my costume up to a certain point. After all, my sister was in constant chagrin over her peanut costume, and would much rather have been the stick of butter. Because my sister desired something I had, said possession became immediately much more indispensably precious to me.
(However, we both decided our little brother had the best costume. After tripping on my cardboard box while walking up the front porch stairs of a house, I decided my butter stick costume wasn't the best option after all.)
There's a hilarious-yet-utterly-pathetic picture of me and my preschool class on Halloween. Literally every single girl is dressed in a sparkly Princess/Angel costume. Except me.
I'm located in one of the back rows, rocking the butter yellow long johns and a foil-covered cardboard box.
I went as a stick of butter.
See, in the above picture, we look adorable, because you get the full effect:
Oh, look. Peanut...Butter...Jelly...Peanut Butter and Jelly! Oh that's just too cute.
And I'll grant you we look mighty fine all together. In retrospect, it's one of the darn cutest ideas in the world that I'm probably stealing for my kids' Halloween costumes.

But still.

There's that picture of a lone stick of butter in a sea of princesses.

Story of my life.