Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Feast Day to You!

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron of retreats and soldiers and the founder of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. I wish you all a happy feast day and encourage you to watch The Mission. It's not about Ignatius but it does show the Jesuits at the top of their game.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Oh yes, I forgot to mention

I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was so very good. In the end, I didn't care about what happened to Voldemort - Harry and the Order just had to triumph, ya know. (And if that's spoiling the ending then you must have been a person who didn't know the boat was going to sink when you watched Titanic.)
What I really wanted to see was what would happen with one person in particular. Why had the person made the decisions (s)he had, what would (s)he do in the end, would everything end well for him/her? I couldn't help it, besides Ron and Dumbledore, this is the character I am most interested in and, dare I say, endeared to.

This is what happens

...when you're poor:
you make your wedding gifts and give everyone the same thing. Paige, Steph and Yvonne - you're getting a Yum Yum - Eat 'Em Up Cookbook, too!

I gathered the recipes, typed them all up and then put forth my best effort at being crafty as I assembled them. I've prepared all of the included recipes so I know they're easy and good.
I should say that this was not my idea in any way. My good friend, Lori, did the same for me for my wedding present and LB has been giving cookbooks out as Christmas presents for 4 years now.



This is what happens when you're poor, modest and slightly chubby:

You buy one dress once a year that is on sale and not too low cut. You then wear it to every wedding you go to:

Oh how I cringe when I look at my lunch lady arms!

Wedding Season

So far Travis and I have gone to 4 weddings. One was just a reception, two were Catholic and one lasted 28 minutes. They were fun and beautiful and the best part about them was that I wasn't the one planning them.
Ya gotta love a wedding -

The eating in the car on the way:

The ambiance:
The dancing:

This is my grandma and grandpa. Grandpa planned his knee surgeries around his grandkids' wedding so he could dance at all three of them - mine in December, Megan's in June and Doug's in October.


If you look hard enough with this one you can see the crutch KJ had to use while shakin' his thang.



JPII

Here's a great little story about a priest who knew JPII back in the day. The post is long but the main paragraph is the near part. Check, check, check it out.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Three Short Tid-Bits

Number One
Last night at the game we ran into 3 of Trav's students: B, M & S. After saying hello and chatting for a bit the two of us continued and found our seats. Travis explained in more detail who they all were and said, "B and M are cousins, I think. Or else they're dating. I can't remember which. But if you see them doing anything - they're not cousins."
They're dating; I asked.

Number Two
For as much as I didn't like Chuck and Larry, I enjoyed Evan Almighty. I didn't hate C&L and I didn't love EA but it was good and worth the money. There's a lot of sweetness in it and some pretty good little touches of authentic Christian teaching. Like when Al Mighty explains to Evan's wife that when a person prays for patience God doesn't just give them patience but the opportunity to be patient. Oh, how I know how painfully true that is!
On a side note, call this Number Two and a Half, Travis and I recently watched Gandhi, the movie with Ben Kingsley. It was brilliant and I can see why it swept the Oscars. You should watch this movie if you have never seen it. And we both agreed that Gandhi was funnier than Chuck and Larry. Ouch.

Number Three
My respect for Jars of Clay continues to grow as I listen to their new CD, Good Monsters. There is a darkness to the album which, I think, is why the local Christian station doesn't play it much. But it's that same shade of darkness that I appreciate. Lyrics like Dead Man's are pretty honest and I, for one, can readily identify with them: So carry me; I'm just a dead man lying on the carpet, can't find a heartbeat. Make me breathe; I want to be a new man, tired of the old one - out with the old plan.
And I love the confession in Work: I have no fear of drowning - it's the breathing that's taking all this work.

The Birthday

The birthday was great.
Travis bought me the two latest Jars of Clay CD's and they are SO GOOD. He also got me some beautiful roses, baked me a carrot cake and helped me get lunch ready for me coworkers, who came to my house in lieu of me bringing birthday treats.
Guacamole and chips, homemade pizza, caramel brownies - it was a good meal.
We went and saw Evan Almighty in the afternoon and had a nice, fancy dinner at Arby's. Low key, low stress and jeans and a t-shirt - I was so happy.

Travis also got me two tickets for the Chiefs game last night. The mighty Kerry Wood pitched a short inning, which was neat to see. We were surrounded by fun people, including one of my coworkers, and three of Travis' students - all my happenstance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I did it

I've done it. I always said I wouldn't, but I have. I've created a Facebook account.
It's a lot like when I got contacts. I was talking it over with my brother's girlfriend and she said, "Wasn't it just last week that you said you'd never get contacts? That your glasses are such a part of who you are that you can't imagine not having them? Wasn't that last week? Yeah, I think it was."
But then the desire for sunglasses became too strong and I got contacts.
Anyways, poke me or something.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Save your money; don't go see this flick

This past weekend, Travis, his sister and I went and saw the new Adam Sandler movie. I was hesitant to go as I'm not really a big fan of gay jokes, nor did I want to be seen as supporting some kind of cause. Also, I didn't know just how inappropriate it would be. In the end we decided that if nothing else we could look for Jolene, my friend who was cast as an extra.

When the movie was over we called Jolene and her response was, "Oh, I'm sorry you had to sit through that colossal piece of crap. I'm so thankful my name doesn't appear in the credits." We are too, Jo, we are too.

It was crude, awkward and just not very funny. And on top if it, the only scene we had "seen" Jo in, she wasn't even in! We missed her in all the other shots.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Misc.

Last night I dreamt of a large spider, bigger than my hand, that I found in my old bedroom at my parents' house. It had bright green legs and when my younger brother and husband were messing around with it, they noticed its legs had octopus-like suction cups. It was not scary but slightly gross.
That dream ended promptly.

I then dreamt that Dave Eggers called me, asking me to take over 826CHI. He remembered working with me in SF and how well Ninive and I got along and thought I would be perfect for the job. While I was honored that he thought so much of me I had to turn the job down. I don't want to live in Chicago. Or work. I just want to sleep in! And run errands. And visit my grandparents. And bake, read, play Scrabble, wear jeans every day, watch the Today Show, go to daily Mass (while still being able to sleep in), hang out in Barnes and Noble and eat peanut butter toast while looking out my window at the rain. Oh, doesn't it sound loverly?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good Job, Travis!

When I got home for lunch today there was a beautiful bouquet of roses and mums waiting for me on the kitchen table, right next to a plate of fresh fruit.
Fresh corn on the cob and brisket were on the grill and there was a new bowl filled with chocolate fudge pudding.
When I asked what the occasion was he just said, "flowers mean the most to me when there's no occasion or reason at all." Well done, hubby, well done.

The Spoon Shadowbox


Last night I went to LB's home and picked up the Spoon Shadowbox she crafted for Trav and I. Let me tell you something, it's gorgeous!
Here's a picture, lifted from her blog, but it doesn't do it justice.
While I visited with her on the couch I had to focus on what she was saying or else I'd be distracted by it. I finally had to turn it face down so that I wouldn't be tempted to pick it up, again, and stare at it while I should have been engaged in a conversation.
When I brought it home Travis reacted in much the same way: oohing over it, holding it close and remarking at the fine details. He turned to me after inspecting it and said, eyes wide, "This is really good." We agreed that with the shadowbox and the framed embroidery piece we now have two of the best things LB has made.
This is way better than any scrapbook - especially any scrapbook I would make. And the best part about it is putting together all the memories -
The Red Lion (located by the pic of Doune Castle) was in the town of Doune. It was where we had dinner one night and as we walked into the pub everyone literally stopped talking and looked at us. I turned to Travis and said, "We're clearly not from around here." Everyone laughed and went back to their beers.
The Marian statue came from the bulletin of the parish where we celebrated Easter Vigil. After the Mass everyone was invited to the church hall for treats. One grandmotherly type kept elbowing people saying, "Go talk to them - they're from America!"
Very, very well done, LB. Marvelous.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fasting on Fridays

If you've ever wondered about fasting or if you need a challenge to do it (like me), than you might like this post.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Sin is a terrible thing. We become comfortable in it and it spreads.


There are people in my life who are very hard to like. I don't like the situations that bring them into my life, nor do I like their behavior within it. It is frustrating to watch people make one bad mistake after another, and it's even worse when they bring down a lot of good people with them.
Suffice it to say I often lack charity and mercy when confronted with these people. My only defense is that I do not know how to love them. This is a true situation where I wish I knew what Jesus would do.


I have finally given myself a firm talking to and then submitted it all to God. I went to confession and feel a good deal better. The challenge, of course, is to continue to submit to God and to be ever mindful of Him. I believe firmly that I will improve in this; I want Heaven too badly not to.
The funny thing is, I did not come to this end in a moment of prayer or while reading my Bible. No, I was looking at my acne in the bathroom mirror and I began to think of Dorian Gray, the man whose life was as horrible as he was beautiful, while all of his ghastly deeds showed themselves only on a portrait of him that hung in secret. "Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man's face," Wilde wrote. And when Dorian shows Basil his portrait he tells Basil, "It is the face of my soul."
As I thought about my outbreak I wondered - stress? cycle? weather? sin? Maybe or maybe not, but it got me to stop worrying about my face and start wondering about my soul.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm the Old Babysitter

Last night at the ice cream stand I kept looking at the girl taking our order. Finally I asked her name and when she said Allie I was floored. I used to babysit her when she was in 4th grade and now she's going to be a junior in high school. She told me what she and her sisters are up to; I told her I was married. We shared memories and I was told she remembers me everytime she's driving and she almost hits a bird. It seems that all those years ago I was taking them somewhere, almost hit a bird and freaked out a little bit. This is the number one reason she remembers me.
I'm so honored to have impacted her life.

826 is Hiring!

Some of you may be familiar with my internship at 826 Valencia in San Francisco a few years ago. Since those days 826 has become a national organization tutoring kids and encouraging them to get excited about reading and writing. Chicago now has its own 826 and it seems that they're hiring. If you're organized, love kids, love writing and all things creative, and you're a leader then I encourage you to check it out. Also, they don't mention it below, but if you get the job then you'll also get the absolute pleasure of working with my old boss, Ninive.

826CHI, a non-profit organization that provides tutoring services to Chicago-area students ages 6-18, seeks to hire a highly motivated and creative individual for the position of Co-Director. This person will have the following responsibilities:

* Oversee all 826CHI fundraising activities, including special events, grant writing, and solicitation of donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals.
* Manage donor relations and maintains donor database.
* Oversee public relations activities, including website, advertisements, fliers, listserv, etc.
* Manage relationship between 826CHI and in-house retail outlet, The Boring Store.
* Oversee student publications, including books and in-house zines.
* With Co-Director, maintain relationship between 826CHI and 826 National organization, founded by writer Dave Eggers.
* Work with Co-Director and Board of Directors to devise programs, evaluate staff, and develop long-range plans for the organization.


Applicants for the position should be able to demonstrate success in fundraising and manage ment experience. As excellent writing skills are required, candidates should please provide a writing sample.

Salary will be $45,000-$55,000, depending on qualificaitons and experience.

For more information on the organization, see www.826chi.org
To apply for the Co-Director position, please send cover letter, c.v., and writing sample to: Dan@eyequilt.com

826CHI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

College Visits

My coworkers and I have engaged in some not so secret missions lately - we visited four of our rival schools.
Basically, when it comes to private colleges you go to the one who offers you the best financial situation and / or is the best "fit". I have found many times this year that EC tends to offer students both.

When students apply to EC we ask them to list other schools they're looking at. If it's us and state schools then we're not too broken hearted if they end up at one. If they want big they'll be miserable here.
If it's us or a junior college and money is a big issue then, while there is some disappointment, we're not too sad. Even with loans there will be some out of pocket expense for most families.
If we're too small, or too far away from home, or too close to home or we don't offer massage therapy and that's what they want, then we wish them the best and cancel their application.

But when you have a kid looking at only small, private, liberal arts schools - well that's when the competition can begin. :)

The schools we went to are all usually listed (at least one) by applying students. So my two fellow freshman admissions counselors and myself called up the four schools and asked if we could visit. We went on the standard tour and visited with fellow counselors. It was a great experience.
The truth is there isn't really a lot of competition between the schools - if someones going to be happier at XYZ and they'll transfer there after one semester here then we don't want them here in the first place because they'll ruin our retention rate.

But the real truth is there is competition and we took good notes about how each school is better or worse, or equal, to us. It was very eye-opening for us. We saw how where we're good, where we're great and where we can improve.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Bees

This is the story about the bees that I told some of you about. It is hilarious!
Please excuse the foul language.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Dump

Things keep on moving forward and so we should be homeowners soon (despite the fact that every time we get something accomplished for the bank they tell us of 2 more things we have to do). I thought I'd give you a few pictures of the house we're buying.




This will be our front door for the first year or so that we live here. The first floor is gutted and the second floor has been converted into an apartment.

The front door of the apartment opens up into our bathroom. Classy, I know.

Our kitchen in the apartment - no counter space and horrible pink teddy bear wallpaper.

Standing in the living room, which will become another bedroom when we're done with it all.

The gutted first floor. I'm standing in what will be the living room; the washer and dryer will turn into the master bath.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I was just told that I'm right in the middle of being a Bible thumper and real laid back. It was a compliment, and I am honored.

Suggestions?

I'm wanting to take a break from the baby books and read a good novel. Can anyone make any good recommendations?

The Gathering of the English Majors

Last night my friend Sarah came over for dinner. We were both English majors at EC and darn good ones at that. She lives in Phoenix now, working as an editor and volunteering as a medical interpreter, so we don't see each other as often as we'd like.
It was wonderful to see her and to invoke old names (Erin, Kim, Jamie and McClellan - oh we were all so good). We also had a wonderful discussion about C.S. Lewis. (Oh! how I miss discussing authors, books and literary theory!)
I have always liked Sarah because she's smart, well read, a devout Christian and she tells it like it is. In college, Erin - an AC, Sarah - a fundamental evangelical, and I - a Roman Catholic, had great times together. Bible Studies, praying together, sharing our struggles for holiness, etc. It was a wonderful trio of respect and love. And we'd always proof each other's papers.

Last night made me remember how smart and talented I really am - much more than homemade cookies and pizza and good people skills. I read Jung and Freud once upon a time, and used their theories to dissect novels of the late 1800's, when the novel was a new form of literature and not as smooth as it is now. I don't really want to get my masters, or take another class - I'm still burnt out from that semester of 4 literature classes above the 300 level. But I do miss that Shakespeare seminar where we had intelligent conversations and laughed so hard we cried.

Book club, anyone?