Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Thought This Was a Safe House!!!

For many people, the thought of being caught under the mistletoe is a pleasant one. They picture surprise first kisses, snuggly eskimo kisses, or a romantic goodnight kiss with the one they love.
For me, however, the thought of being caught under the mistletoe fill me with terror. I believe this fear originates from one Christmas Eve at my grandparents' house when I was probably about 7 years old. My grandma had hung mistletoe in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, and after one of my crazy boy cousins chased me around trying to kiss my cheek, I spent the rest of the day scootching through that doorway with my back against the wall so I would never officially be under the mistletoe.
For years, I have felt a certain amount of security that my mother would never do anything so silly as hang mistletoe in our doorways, so I was able to walk through our house freely without concern about sneak-attack kisses. But today, alas, what should I see hanging cheerfully above the doorway from the kitchen to the porch but a ball of mistletoe? I am safe no longer.
Merry Christmas? HA! Merry Avoid-a-Kiss-mas is more like it.
And by whom, you might ask, am I so afraid of being kissed? You never know, I say. You just never know.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Princess Music!

I have compiled a playlist of all the best Disney Princess songs. Check it out!

I included "Won't Say I'm in Love" from Hercules; Meg shouldn't be left out just because there's no "Disney Goddesses" group. Also "God Help the Outcasts" from Hunchback of Notre Dame because Esmeralda is a princess by the same criteria as Mulan: she married an army officer. I suppose it could be argued that Mulan held an important government position and Esmeralda did not... but as far as marriage goes they are equal. And ok... Thumbelina isn't a Disney Princess... but she is a fairy princess and one of my personal favs.

I have been listening to this playlist as I study because it makes me so nostalgically happy plus singing along is a great stress buster.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Makeup Cheers Me Up :D

My day was going badly with much much stress. I had a linguistics final which I hadn't prepared for sufficiently and a final portfolio with three pieces to be finished. I can't even think about how incredibly anxious I was about my life earlier today; it makes me feel sick.
After that, I went to Panera and successfully connected my little netbook to the free wifi there for an hour or so of eating and social networking. I ate a whole sandwich even though I wasn't really hungry. I didn't eat at all until almost 3:00 today because I quite literally didn't have time, and that does things to me mentally. Then I went to Rue21 right next door and bought this gorgeous ring ($8) and a new wallet ($3) made of dark purple leather with ruffles. Also, it has a metal frame with a clasp, not a trifold with a snap like my old knockoff Prada one from NYC. So hopefully it'll take up less room. This expedition was shopping therapy at its best! I hope this doesn't become a habit though... it could get expensive. At Rue21 they tried to get me to buy perfume (which was on sale for $9.99) and I almost caved, but it smelled like cheap soap, so in the end it wasn't too hard to walk away. I'm no ninny. ;)
I came home around 6 with a headache and an upset stomach, fatigued and grumpy, so I sat down at my computer to watch something on No Desperate Housewives (yes, I watch this show :p), and no Castle! (LOVE this show... is it on Tuesday nights?) So I watched an old episode and then switched over to NBC to catch up on the Office. (Is it me or are the episodes growing increasingly bland?) This is how I unwind: I watch online TV. I would have played the piano, which is also a great destresser(I think I just made up a word) for me, but my little sister has a recital tomorrow night, so she's been practicing for hours and thus blocking my access. Boo.
Anywho, what really truly just made my day was walking into my bedroom to get ready for sleeping and seeing a package from e.l.f. on my bed! My order of a couple weeks ago finally came! I was SO excited, I got right down to opening everything, trying out different lip colors and eyeshadows. I washed my face twice so I could reapply and try new shades. I had a total blast, and now with my new hair and my new makeup I feel so beeeuutiiifuuuul that all I can do is bounce around and giggle. Hmm, that sounds sarcastic, but I was serious. Hahahaha I've really been doing that for the past 20 minutes or so! This day has gone from being total poop to being totally delightful!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A New Computer and a Whole New Head of Hair

First and foremost, I think it worth mentioning that thanks to a little help from my birthday money, I am now in possession of a new Toshiba netbook. It is a perfect little thing and for some reason I love blogging from it. I think it makes me feel hip. I acknowledge the fact that it doesn't actually make me hip, but it feels that way. So chances are that most of the times I update my blog from here on in will be from the baby laptop.

Moving on to the actual topic that I wish to address today: my new hair! Nobody probably noticed, because the change is so slight, but I certainly notice and I feel like a supermodel! (a short one... but still ;) I did the flip-head-over-and-cut-straight-across cut on myself a couple of nights ago, and it gave me just the right amount of layers for growing it out. That's right: my long hair is making a comeback! (sometime in the next couple of years...) And then there's the new styling technique...
I have always been a fan of embracing your hair's natural textures and I've encouraged air drying, not brushing after a shower, and using minimal amounts of product. But who knew that my hair + golf-ball-sized poof of mousse + blowdryer with diffuser attached = amazing wavy/curly hair with body and bounce? Woohoo! I've been tossing my hair around all day (subtley... I hope) because it feels so awesome to have such amazing hair on my head. And you know what the best part of all this is? It only takes me about 10 minutes once my hair is towel-dried! I am so pumped about this new discovery. Now if only my hair would hurry up and grow.

Ok, so this post is admittedly pretty superficial, but I think it's worth it to sometimes to look at the surface and praise God for the things we love about our appearances! I mean, He made us look that way for a reason and obviously loves everything about us. So even though it's silly, thank you, sweet Lord for giving me supermodel hair! And a hip computer to blog from. :D hahahahaha

Busy Busy in a Tizzy

This week as I prepare for finals, I have become ragingly self-centered. Not really in an egotistical way (I hope) but more in a way in which my mind focuses only on what I have to do next. I guess one of the many limitations I'm discovering about myself (though I've suspected it for some time now) is that I have a one-track mind. One thing at a time consumes my very being and I pretty much can think of nothing else. And right now that one thing is school.
As a result, though, I feel like some of my relationships are suffering. I haven't really talked with
either of my older sisters for what feels like a long time. I haven't had time to hang out with any of the usual crowd these past couple of weeks (I skipped bible study! eeek!) and when I get home at night I generally just eat and then work and then sleep. This lack of connection has also extended, unfortunately, to the relationship that means more to me than anything in the world.

Today I went to Mass and tried to stay for a holy hour afterward. I couldn't do it. Even with the King of Kings right there inside my heart I felt not a single thing. I tried to say some prayers and read a little booklet about Mary, but still nothing. I looked straight at the Host in the monstrance but could not get any feelings of respect or love to stir in my heart. After about 15 minutes of this I just left.
I was thinking about this little instance today on the trolley on my way home. It bugged me. I was frustrated with myself and with God. Why is it that some days adoration is amazing and soul-changing and other days it is as though I were sitting in an empty room? Off-days like today make me extremely skeptical about my faith, down to the very basics of what I believe. 'How am I so sure that there is even a God?' I ask myself. It is then that I remember those golden moments in my life when I've never been so sure of anything as of the fact that God reigns over Heaven and Earth and He loves me like no other. I was conjuring up those memories just today to combat the wave of doubt that washed over me, and it was then that I realized that all of those moments have something in common. In each instance, I left myself completely open to what He wanted to say to me. I was unafraid to hear His voice and see His hand in my life and uninhibited by my prideful "knowledge" of the world. Scripture says that "the simple find wisdom," and how many times over this has proven to be true in my own life! For in each of those beautiful moments, tired of the noise of the world, I quieted myself and let simplicity lead the way to His heart.
Once I realized this, I almost laughed out loud at myself. My mind and my heart had certainly not been quiet or simple earlier today. I pictured the Lord as a frustrated lover, wishing that I would just SHUT UP already so He could whisper sweet nothings into my ear. Of course he understands that our human nature sometimes makes it difficult for us to concentrate on abstract things such as Himself... but if we just give it a little effort it's not impossible. The thing is, the love of God never goes away. The love that lived and breathed and bled and died to save us is the same whether we're feeling it overwhelm us or not feeling a thing. The difference usually lies in our hearts (unless God is testing you! in which case your heart is totally open to Him and He still withholds that connected feeling, a.k.a consolation, but this generally occurs later in the spiritual journey to more experienced travelers). So stick it out in your holy hours (if you're doing them. If not you should really look into it! :D). Open your hearts and don't let fear or internal noise keep you away from Him! He desires so much to be near to you! "Behold, I stand at the door and knock..."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

End of the Semester Blues

I haven't written in.... well, a very long time. Obviously. I can't really think of good reason why not. I think I just forgot I had a blog for a while. Plus, as usual, things have been super busy.
I always say that when people ask me, "How've you been?" or "How are things going?" "Busy," is always the reply because it's always true. I'm just putting the finishing touches on my schedule for next semester (one of the classes I added was canceled and I had to find a replacement) so I'm feeling introspective about this topic.

Every time I make a schedule of classes (I've made about 7 now counting high school and the past three semesters) I feel optimistic about the coming year/semester. I get excited. I think, "This semester will be different. This year I will be able to concentrate on my classes the way I've always wanted to, without interruptions. This semester I will enjoy my classes; they all look so interesting! I sincerely want to learn about what each of them has to offer. These classes will make up a big part of my life in the near future."
But that's never the way it happens. Life keeps on going regardless of my class schedule. And no matter how optimistic I am at the beginning, there will always be unexpected deaths in the family, sick days (or weeks, in my case), a friend who needs you to be there even though you have a lot to do. And I will probably get behind and be outrageously stressed out about the very classes I was so looking forward to only a few months before.
It's a hard pill for my idealistic self to swallow. This whole time-management thing so rarely works out the way I want it to. Sometimes I wonder if I really am that busy or if I just... feel that way. I mean, maybe I just can't deal with life's normal ups and downs like most people can. If this is about learning my limitations as a student and as a person, then it's a very humbling experience.
The truth of the matter is, most days I would be perfectly happy to hole myself up in my little office room all day and chill out. I don't mind being alone. But most days that's not really an option, so I keep pulling myself out of bed and going out to fight the good fight. I do want to get a good education. I really do want to learn. It's just the day-to-day grind that sometimes gets me down.
Sorry for the defeated tone of this post. I've just been feeling a bit melancholy lately, I guess. Make-up work always does this to me, and finals are looming on the not-so-distant horizon. Perhaps I should be stronger and try to pull through it with a smile on my face, but you can only smile for so long before your cheeks hurt.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crazy Busy Weekend

Ok, so maybe this is just me, but lately my weekends have stopped functioning as weekends and started to behave dangerously like weekdays. No more of those lazy Saturdays, watching TV all day as I filed my nails, ate peanut butter sandwiches, and just generally putzed around. No more beautiful Sundays with naught to do but go to Mass and watch football with a little bit of homework in the evening. Nope. Those days are long gone, and in their absence, insane business reigns supreme!!! Here is what this past weekend looked like for me:

5:00 Bible study. I elaborated on the "True Love" study and printed extra copies. It rains and pours and the commons room where we usually meet is closed for a fancy reception. I try to sit by the door that people usually come into but to no avail. No one shows except for one friend of mine. We end up having delightful conversation for an hour anyway.

6:00 Ballroom dance class! The instructor talks for about 40 minutes of the 2 hour class. We do a foxtrot mixer, then a polka mixer, and then we all dance the salsa holding hands in a huge circle. Weird.

8:15 I meet a friend for Indian food (the first time I've had any since last year!) We are hopelessly confused by the menu and end up ordering a combo meal to share. It is more than enough food for both of us. And we have lots of good conversation.

9:30 Start the commute home. Always a pleasure. Not.

11:00 Get a text message from best friend sent at midnight the night before. She is in town this weekend!!!! We make plans via lots of text messages.

12:00 Aforementioned friend picks me up. My hair is still wet due to close proximity of her arrival to my stepping out of the shower. We shop. And talk. A lot.

2:15 I return home. Tidy office space, go through paper stacks while watching online shows at

5:00 Make some attempt at cleaning my room so I can leave for Oakland!! Find long-lost favorite locket under my bed. Sweet! Pack an overnight bag.

6:30 Mooch ride off of father to Washington Junction. Catch the 47L. Finish commute into Oakland, ect.

7:45 Arrive at friend's adorable little house. Scarf down dinner of pasta and delicious homemade sauce courtesy of her house-mate. Rush to Steven Foster Memorial!!

8:02 Arrive at the theater. Rush down to redeem comp tickets from work-study. Rush back upstairs to be seated right before the lights go down for DRACULA!!! The costumes look amazing. I feel like a proud mother. :)

10:30 Return to little house for evening of more dinner, tasty desserts and LOTR. Except that we both fall asleep after about half an hour.

8:30 Wake up. Breakfast etc.

9:30 Leave for home. Slow service due to Sunday schedule causes me to wait for almost half an hour for my bus and then again for trolley. Pass the time chatting to one of my lovely sisters on the cellie.

11:00 Waltz into my 3rd grade CCD class late. Luckily my team teacher has got me covered: we both planned lessons for this class! Neither of us planned enough so we combine forces. The result is the best CCD class ever!! We need to work together more often. Lesson for today: the Eucharist. siiiighhhhh.... my favorite thing in the world... Quick review question: What makes the Catholic Church different from every other church in the world? The Eucharist and the Blessed Mother! Never ever let anyone tear you away from these two things!!!

12:30 Return home with family from the church. Check email, get directions, make Mom a card for her birthday.

2:30 Leave for Gemini Theater Company. I have the mini van! woot woot! No public transportation this time! I am going to see "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in order to finish a writing project I've been working on about the company. Only get lost once and realize right away. Minimal time lost.

3:10 Arrive late. Have to squeeze past a little family of French children who are so engrossed in the performance that their mothers have to pick them up for me to pass. Feel horrible. Endure an hour or so of very mediocre singing and acting.

4:15 Leave the theater for Oakland. Park in St. Paul's parking lot. Mosy over to Camille's for a strawberry smoothie.

5:00 Commence fasting for 6:00 Mass. Spend the time making a holy hour in front of the Tabernacle, which we discussed in great length in class this morning. How beautiful...

6:00 Mass! <3

7:00 Catholic Underground. Good food, good fellowship, good discussion about holiness. Did you know that because "all life, all holiness comes from You [God]," the extent to which we are holy is the extent to which we allow Christ to rule our hearts and the extent to which we imitate Him? Just some food for thought. :)

10:00 Return home after putting 5 dollars of my own money into the gas tank. There is a first time for everything...

7:30 alarm goes off. Lie in bed wishing I didn't have to get up. What happened to the weekend?

8:15 get out of bed after almost punching my alarm clock when it went off for the 10th time.

And here I am. This weekend would have filled any extrovert up with joy and energy, but I just feel exhausted and worn down. Boo.
Well, I'm going to Mass now. If anyone can lift my dragging spirits, He can.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The only explanation I can give for posting two blogs right in a row like this is that I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now. So ya.
The following is an exercise we did in my writing class: we had to draw a map of the earliest neighborhood/house/yard that we lived in and remembered, and then write about a scene that the map reminded you of. As I sketched the lines of my old backyard, where I spent 7 wonderfully happy years from the ages of 2 - 9, scads of memories came flooding back to me like "memories from a dream," as Anastasia would say. There were so many that I couldn't decide which one to write about! But I finally chose this one: (please keep in mind that this was an in-class activity, so there was absolutely no proofreading or revision involved :p)

We just ate dinner. The dishes are washed and it's time for dessert. The sun is setting. Mom grabs a box of Klondikes from the freezer. Dad takes the lawn chairs from the playhouse where they're stored. We all walk up the hill, past the swingset and the garden. Tiny white petals float from the crab-apple tree in Florence's yard, the one she doesn't mind if we climb. It looks like snow, but the air is warm, the earth giving off the heat of the day in a gentler, softer way. We reach the top. Mom and Dad sit in the lawn chairs. We kids sit on the grass. Or stand. Mom hands out the Klondikes. I unwrap mine completely and hold it with both hands, the chocolate already melting on my fingertips. I try to be neat but it's absolutely hopeless. Melted ice cream dribbles down my hands, my face. I decide I don't actually like Klondikes very much. But it doesn't matter. I look up to see our neighborhood spread out before us like a magic carpet, bathed in the pink and orange glow of the setting sun.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thanks, Mom! :)

I've been thinking a lot lately about my vocation, as all of you probably know by now. I just couldn't get it out of my mind. A lot of things have happened in my heart, but there is one thing in particular that helped me that I want to share.
The following reflection is printed in black on a plain white sheet of paper. There is no information regarding who wrote it or what it is from. It's just there. My mom gave it to me to read at a point when I was really struggling. She is such a blessing to me!


Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone. To have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But God, to a Christian, says no, not until you're satisfied, fulfilled, and content with living, loved by Me alone - giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me, to have an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone. I love you My child and until you discover that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you. You will never be united with another until you are united with Me - exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any other desires or longings. Stop planning, stop wishing, and allow Me to bring it to you. Just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things. Keep learning and listening to the things I tell you. You must wait. Don't be anxious and don't worry. Don't look around at the things you think you want. Just keep looking off and away up to Me, or you'll miss what I have to show you.
And then when you're ready, I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you would ever dream. Until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready - I am working this minute to have both of you ready at the same time - and until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I've prepared for you, you won't be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with Me, and this is perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me, and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with Myself. Know I love you.
I am God Almighty, believe and be satisfied.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Log vs. Splinter

A month or so ago, I bought the book "Captivating" off of I had already read it, but I gave my first copy away, as I so often do. A few weeks after it arrived in the mail, I got the email from the Amazon people inviting me to review my purchase. So I did. I wrote a congenial review saying, among other things, that it was an inspiring book even though it wasn't Catholic and I was (ie there wasn't anything against Church teachings that I could remember) and I highly recommended it. (4 stars)
A few days after that, an email popped up that said someone had commented on my review. Oo, how exciting, I thought, and followed the link. Imagine how my stomach sank when it turned out that some very adamant man had taken "issue" with my statement that "the book didn't go against Church teachings" and had proceeded to make a long list explaining what was wrong with the book. I skimmed the list, feeling a little embarrassed, and started to write a response that was something to the effect of "O sorry about that, I didn't realize there were so many discrepancies, it's been a while since I read it, thanks for clearing things up, etc. etc." But before I posted it, I scrolled back up to read the list in detail. And some of the stuff he was arguing was... well... kind of messed up.
He wasn't just arguing about a few bad sources in the book or a couple faulty references. No, he was challenging the core ideas of the book, the very ideas that had inspired me and fed me spiritually right when I had really needed it. The more I read, the more he seemed to be attacking the book rather than critiquing it.
The book had emphasized the beauty of femininity. He argued that "beauty is vain" according to scripture. The book had brought attention to Eve as the finishing touch on creation, the last and most wonderful creature of the story of Genesis. He spat out that the authors had overlooked Jesus Christ as the pinnacle of creation. And on and on. He even concluded that not only did the book contradict Protestant and Catholic church teachings, but it was also promoting New Age ideas!
At first I was shaken. Then I got mad. Really mad. I stormed into the kitchen where my mom was cleaning up, needing to vent to someone. I had a theological argument for every point that he made on that stupid list (which I proceeded to rain down upon my poor unsuspecting mother.) I would tell him! I would write my own witty and scathing defense and... but no. I couldn't just go on my own rampage. The Holy Spirit! He would help me! I discussed true beauty with my mother, and how much the Catholic Church cherishes her daughters. She suggested that I look for a quote from JPII on the feminine genius. So I did. I curbed my anger. I sat down and looked for a good quote. And I found one. My response read something to the effect of the following:

Sorry about the mistake! I should have been more clear.
"The personal resources of femininity are certainly no less than the resources of masculinity: they are merely different. Hence a woman, as well as a man, must understand her 'fulfillment' as a person, her dignity and vocation, on the basis of these resources, according to the richness of the femininity which she received on the day of creation and which she inherits as an expression of the "image and likeness of God" that is specifically hers."
~ JPII, Mulieris Dignitatem
I believe that, although this book has some gray areas and is certainly not endorsed by any church, if read in the light of Catholic teachings as outlined in the Catechism and expanded upon in Theology of the Body and The Dignity of Women, it can be a wonderful aide to becoming a young woman of Christ.
(Even if you're not Catholic I'm sure you can take something from this book. Read it and see for yourself! :)

I knew it was the Holy Spirit. How could it not be? If it had been up to me, I would have been ripping him a new one. Thank you sweet Lord for the gift of self-control!
But I wasn't satisfied. After I posted, I read through a few of the other reviews for the book and found that I wasn't the only one who had received a comment from the vengeful defender of all that is good. Even people who had reviewed the book less agreeably than I had been rebuked. I paced the floor of the kitchen, gritting my teeth and growling that I wanted to DO something!!! How dare this man spread such a version of Christianity?! THIS, I told myself, was just the kind of angry, judgemental, self-righteous Christian who turned people off to Christianity in droves! How can I change this? Reverse this influence? Perhaps one day, as a writer... but no! I want to do something now! And how DARE he??? Ya, I was pretty pissed.
Pissed enough that, the next day at Mass, I was still seething a little. I was just getting into my anger a little more when the priest stood up to read the gospel. And lo...

"Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

BAM! Just like that. I almost fell to my knees and cried right then and there. How dare I?? How could I??? How could I judge what is going on in this man's life, where he is coming from, what wounds he is dealing with? By labeling him as judgmental and angry and self-righteous, I myself was being judgemental and angry and self-righteous! What a trap Satan had set for me! How readily and easily I had walked into it! How humbling and touching to have the Lord show me my error so clearly.
I took away a few lessons from this. First of all, we as Christians should ALL strive to be non-judgemental and humble! Nothing is more attractive and, more importantly, nothing pleases the Lord more. Secondly, there has been kindled in me a deep and fiery apostolic zeal. My desire to draw souls to Christ was, for an agonizing hour or so, the most important thing in my life. True, I was acting out of anger at that time, but when the desire is cleansed of anger, it becomes a pure and powerful one, capable of accomplishing much. Let us also as Christians strive for this spirit of evangelization, bound tightly to the Holy Spirit, ready to do His bidding at every moment, and so on fire for Him and for souls that we will stop at nothing to accomplish it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Last night, I had a series of really horrible dreams. Some samples:
1) My house was under invasion by all sorts of monsters and evil beings and try as my family might, we could not fend them off.
2) My dad DIED while I was at some sort of 8-day camp. Nobody told me, and by the time I got home he was gone and buried and my Mom had a new boyfriend already. (Mother dear assured me that that would never ever happen in real life when I told her this morning, accompanying her assurance with the exclamation, "gross!" Praise God for my wonderful mother!)
3)The Servants of the Pierced Hearts were under house arrest during the Nazi invasion in a house with no bathroom, only a small shower in the wall.

I have never in my life been so happy to hear my alarm clock's cheerful beeping. As I pulled the covers off and shuffled to the bathroom to brush my teeth, I realized that, comparatively, my life really is not bad at all. Sure, commuting sucks, but at least my dad isn't dead and my house isn't under attack. As I climbed on the trolley this morning, I felt truly happy for the first time since school started. I most certainly can make the best of things.

And one more thing:
I pray a rosary every morning on the trolley. Usually I keep the beads enclosed in my palm, with only a few peeking out over my thumb and forefinger as I count the decade out. But today, I let my rosary fall loosely over my lap. I made the sign of the cross joyfully and noticeably. No more hiding. I'm ready to show the world my faith. Is this display in response to my dreams of last night? Perhaps. For without God, all things seem impossibly bleak.

More Humility

It is excruciatingly difficult for me to admit this...
but I tried out for Pitt Repertory Theater and got absolutely nothing. Not even a callback. That's 4 different shows that all passed me by. That hurts my pride. A lot.
I used to consider myself to be a good actress. I absolutely love to perform and so many people have told me that they enjoy watching me. But the truth of the matter is that in the real world, (as in, not high school theater) I am not that good.
Normally when I audition for anything I keep it very secret. I tell as few people as possible. If I fail, I don't want to have to tell everyone who asks "How did your audition go?" that I didn't get anything.
But this time is different. My purpose for posting this is absolutely not to receive compliments or words of comfort. In all honesty I would love to forget that this whole thing ever happened.
This time, though, I know for sure that things happened exactly the way the Lord wanted them to, and I don't want to keep His beautiful plan a secret.
I prayed so hard about these auditions. I almost backed out countless times. I prayed that if it was not His will that I be in shows this semester that He stop me from getting to the audition somehow. I was looking for the easy way out; I don't like to try for anything that I don't think I will get. But notice: He allowed me to go sign up, fill out a form, pick out a monologue, practice over and over, get to the auditions, and worry all day today about call-backs. All for nothing. And the thing is that along every single step along the way, I knew that He wanted me to keep going. You see, I had much to gain from this experience. Humility. Perseverance.
"No," He says through it all, "You are not always going to get what you want or be the best at everything. But that shouldn't stop you from trying. And when you fall, bless the opportunity to grow in wisdom and virtue, for I Myself fell three times along the road to the cross. You don't have to be perfect, little one. But you must try."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


sucks. It's been a day and a half now, and it's really getting on my nerves. Seriously, I need to devote 2 hours of my life every day to travel from my house to my classes and back again? Not fun. Not at all fun.
I waited for a trolley for over twenty minutes this morning!!!! What is that all about?? I was 10 minutes late to my first class this morning because of it. And what if I oversleep? There is no throw-on-some-clothes-and-walk-5-minutes option now. Nope. No room for mistakes.
Also, I am on campus with 3 1/2 hours of free time and nowhere to go chill out. I miss my little room. I have to sit in the computer lab and blog instead of watching old episodes of Scrubs. Boo.
Plus also, I forgot my Pitt ID today, so I had to shell out $4.60 to get here this morning, and tonight I'm gonna have to shell out $4.60 more to get home. That's almost $10 down the tubes!!! I could have bought a journal with that money! Or makeup! Or food! Or ANYTHING but bus and trolley fare!!! Ooo I'm so angry. >:(
And also, I don't have a meal plan anymore, so I'm going to have to pay real money for my dinner tonight. Argh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Change and a Sacrifice

Times have certainly been tough lately. The price of college is going up, the amount of money in my bank account is going way down, and on top of it all, my financial aid package dropped $10,000 this year.
Shocking, right? I didn't see this coming at all. What was dropped? The government grants. So much for the stimulus package, eh? Also I lost my academic competitiveness grant, because my GPA went down from a 3.7 to a 3.4 (my cumulative is still a 3.5). I thought my grades were pretty good considering that throughout the course of spring semester I was in the hospital twice and had to deal with the death of my 19-year-old cousin. But the numbers don't tell you that.
So, what to do now? Well, for a while I didn't even think I would be able to stay in college. There's just no source of income that could cover that extra fee. My parents and I looked over the possibilities. Take a year to work? Work every night and weekend? Find a massive scholarship in the next couple months? What it finally came down to was this: I am moving home to become a commuter student.
Yes, it sucks. Of course I don't want to give up my independence, my freedom and my space to move back in with my parents. But I'm saving about $8000. So that's the way it's gotta be. I don't really have much of a choice.

The thing is, I can see the good in this, too. During my time with the nuns, the superior and I talked a lot about the time between now and when my vocation (whatever it may be) is realized. The truth of the matter is that college life is not really a good formation period for either vocation. Four years of doing what you want to do when you want to do it does not teach you anything about responsibility, humility, or sacrifice, all things that are absolutely essential to married and religious life. These next few years, though they will inevitably be difficult, will also be a period of great growth for me if I allow them to be. I can learn many virtues by living at home, patience, humility, and docility being at the top of the list! I cringe as I look at those words written out. How uncomfortable they seem to me now! Yet the Lord has said that the virtue that comforts Him most, when it seems that our hearts are full of sin, is humility. Though our sins beat him mercilessly when He enters our hearts through the Eucharist, He is able to recline on our virtues to rest, and He loves humility most of all. Perhaps by the time I graduate or move out again, I will have learned to love this virtue as He does.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Little Bird, Journals, Milestones

It was such a short while ago that I wrote about my little bird, Elliot, and what a ray of sunshine she was to the family and to Jack. Unfortunately, little Elli had a fatal encounter with a ceiling fan a few days ago. She went into shock, then she fell asleep and didn't wake up. We are burying her today.
I am surprisingly heartbroken over this. I am more upset that I was over any other pet death. Ever. I suppose it's because I took such care with her training and because she was so lovable. What hurts the most is how short the time was between her taming and her death. The lifespan of a parakeet, if all goes well (i.e. no sicknesses or accidents), is 12 - 16 years! I was so looking forward to that time with her.
I talked to my spiritual director about it yesterday: do pets go to heaven? On one hand, they don't have souls, or at least, proper souls like humans do, so they don't really fit into the beatific vision of heaven. Yet there will be no pain of loss or separation in heaven, and animals were placed on earth for the enjoyment and use of humans, so maybe they will be there to please us further once we cross over. Our final decision: we don't know! It helped just to talk it out, though.

Yesterday also marked the beginning of shopping-for-school-supplies season, as Mom took a few of us to Office Depot to pick out our planners. I got another huge calender. They really are the best for organizing. But more excitingly, there was a cart full of clearance stuff by the door (everything inside $1!!) and what should be lying in the cart but stacks and stacks of beautiful leather and suede journals!!!!! I almost passed out, I was so happy. I have a rather severe journal fetish. I bought 5 of them for $5.35. You just can't beat that. Plus, now I am good to go for at least 2 years, probably more.

Also of note is that this post is #60 for me! Hooray! Also, August 23 is "Thoughts Along the Way"'s 1 year anniversary! I can't believe it! It seems only weeks ago that I was posting about my epic encounter with veggie hummus. Sigh.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lessons Learned

The Lord has a way of teaching me things about Himself, little situations that He puts me in to get a glimpse of what we look like from His point of view.
Years of unrequited love taught me what it's like to long for someone who cares nothing about you, just like the Lord longs even more excruciatingly to be close to us, who so often care so little about Him.
Arguing with a friend who does not trust me taught me how hurtful it is to the Lord when we do not trust Him.
Having fair-weather friends taught me what it's like for the Lord when people pray to Him only when they need Him, but never take the time to console His Agonizing Heart or even keep Him company in the Tabernacle.
And now, silly as it may seem, adopting a new bird is teaching me about vocations from God's vantage point.

Elliot was a very difficult bird to deal with at first, because she was so skittish, so scared of me. Remembering, however, the damage I had done to previous birds by forcing too much training on them too fast, I chose to exercise patience with her. Any time I felt any frustration, I backed off and ended the session for the day.
[Ok, background info: Parakeets are very social creatures since they live in flocks in the wild. Because of this, they need a lot of attention to keep them happy and Jack is not exactly the focal point of our family. Elliot was purchased to be his companion. If, however, you introduce an untamed bird to another bird, the untamed bird will never become truly tame because it doesn't need to: it has the other bird for company. Because of this, I had Jack and Elliot kept in separate cages in separate corners of the house. They couldn't even hear each other chirping. They had no idea that the other existed.]
Anywho, keeping the birdies separated was difficult for me, because I felt that if Elliot only knew the joy in store for her, perhaps she would be a little more motivated to complete her taming process. If only she trusted me, I could finally bring her and her little mate together!
Elliot did NOT know about Jack, though, so training continued at a snails pace. Almost 2 months after I brought her home, she was still fluttering around wildly to avoid my hand. She would only climb on tentatively if I offered her food. Because she wouldn't climb on readily, I couldn't let her out of her cage, either, because there was no way to get her back in or protect her from the dangers she may encounter outside in the big, wide house. In her mind, I was one of those dangers!
A major break-through occured, though, when I brought Jack to visit her cage. To see another bird hop onto my hand and remain unharmed succeeded in shattering her fears. And besides, anything Jack did, she had to try, too! It was love at first sight (for Elliot, anyway. Jack needed a little convincing.) Soon she was hopping on and off my hand like a pro, and readily climbing on when she landed in a dangerous or precarious spot.
The tamer Elliot became, the sweeter she became, too. We were all used to Jack, who bites everyone who comes close and doesn't like to be held, and Tobey, the bird before him, who was afraid of everything, even his toys. To have this adorable little bird hopping onto our fingers and shoulders, clamoring around playing with all of her toys and chattering away or chirping at the top of her lungs is quite a change and a treat for us. She has captured the heart of every member of the family. Even ornary ol' Jack is taking a liking to her at last, so persistant is she in her cheerful and friendly ways.
And the sweeter she became, the more reluctant I was to move her into Jack's room. I knew that the more the two of them bonded, the less she would bond with us humans, and I didn't want to give her up.
In the end, though, I knew that she had to serve her purpose in this household, so I moved her cage into the room with Jack's, then slowly moved her things, day by day, into his cage. She's all moved in now, and the two of them spend long happy days together playing and chattering and scratching each others heads. Jack has benefitted amazingly from having her around. He bites much less and is in general much happier of a bird. Mission accomplished.

So, now at the end of this long story about my birds, I will relate to you the lesson hidden in all of this. There are two, actually.
1) Patience is really important! I am convinced that my patience with Elliot helped her to become the loveable little bundle of feathers she is now, though her personality probably has something to do with it, too.
2) Reread or recall this story, but this time picture God in the role of bird-tamer and us in the role of Elliot. Insert future spouse into Jack's role, and we have a perfect analogy. Awesome, isn't it? We have to draw closer to the Lord and truly trust in Him before He can bring us to the great joy He has in store for us! Only then will we be able to grow in sweetness and virtue and maybe even draw others closer to Him. Sometimes He uses other people to draw us closer, and sometimes He enjoys us so much that He wants to keep us all to Himself. (Religious life, anyone?) No matter what, He knows best, and He is preparing us for the path He has planned and leading us down it at the same time. Follow Him!

My Friends the Dumbbells

I think I am becoming mildly addicted to working out.
I never, ever thought this would happen to me; I was always a book reading, movie watching, other-sitting-still-activities doing kind of gal. I hated cross country and always felt bad when we drove past runners on the sidewalk. I simply endured gym classes so I could get to English or Chorus or some other activity that didn't require any movement.
But then I started's 2-Week Total Body Turnaround.
Allow me to explain. This 2 week program advertises the loss of 12 lb and 22 1/2 inches in just two weeks! Shocking! Every day, I go to the website and check the appropriate page that tells me the workout for the day. Every day is a surprise, which is good, because I get bored very easily, ESPECIALLY with workout programs. Each day holds 1/2 an hour of cardio and 1/2 an hour of strength training. It is a bit much, but I am somewhat of an all-or-nothing person, and I do get Sundays off.
So I started off last week with nothing but my mom's 2 lb. weights to work with. As she said, they were better than nothing, but... well... not by much. It ended up being a good thing, though, because I'm so out of shape, some of the exercises were still difficult for me. (ie: lunges. you'd think that these huge leg muscles would be good for something... apparently not)
I finally convinced mother dear to pick up some real 5 lb weights while she was out shopping for vacation, stating that of course they would be of good use for her, too. The jubilation that ensued upon the arrival of the dumbbells was my first tip that perhaps I was getting a little too into this program.
It wasn't until tonight, though, that I really understood. It was my first night using the dumbbells. My delight deepened with every set that I struggled through. I smiled as my arms shook, unaccustomed to the extra weight. During the last set, I tacked on 3 extra reps because I was enjoying the burning in my abs so much.
Yes, I love strength training. This could be the beginning of something big. :D

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life With the Nunnies

It is almost midnight here at Mother of Love convent, and the household (three postulants, one sister, and me) is preparing for a good nights sleep after an evening of intense prayer.
There isn't a lot of free time here, as you have probably noticed by my lack of updating. Every hour is planned out for maximum use of time. Life is surprisingly busy here, scheduled and reassuring, yet ever changing. As one of the sisters is wont to say with a huge smile on her face, "With religious life, you never know what to expect!"
But, I wanted to snag a few of these spare moments before we commence "horizontal meditation," as our superior calls it, to relate to you some of the insights about the life of a nun which seem to be true.

1. When God is your spouse, every Mass is a marriage feast, every recieving of the Eucharist a consummation. Every soul that you help along the way is your child, every priest your brother. Every prayer is a love letter, every blessing a gift from the One who loves you best.

2. Living in the convent does not mean becoming like your sisters, but rather finding your place among them. Each of the sisters here is completely unique, her own person, and each brings something very important to the family. All nuns are not the same! They may dress the same, but their souls and their hearts are distinctly different.

3. Although the wearing of a habit seems, to me, a great sacrifice, it truly is for the best. A servant has no time or need to adorn herself as she takes her humble place in the great celebration that is life. She pleases the Lord more with her service and virtue than any adornment ever could.

4. Most women do not dream of being nuns all their lives. Girls dream of marriage, of babies, not convents and habits. To most of the nuns I have talked to, the calling in their hearts came as quite a shock to them. But now, they are the happiest, most content group of women I have ever seen. Thus, just because you dream of marriage doesn't mean that you're not called to religious life. In fact, it is important that you ARE drawn to marriage, for religious life is most certainly a marriage, with the greatest husband of them all (No mere mortals for these ladies!) and more spiritual children than you could ever have physically!

5. If you truly are called to religious life, the Lord will woo you just like any other suitor. He will romance you and make you fall madly, crazily in love with Him. How else could He ask you to devote the rest of your life to Him?

I still am not sure if I am called to religious life or marriage, but I know now that my heart is truly open to either path.
I really must be going now, but hopefully this post has given you a bit of insight about religious life and how beautiful it really is.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vocations (and other such nonsense)

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to my vocation. A recent encounter with an old heartthrob and an upcoming visit to a convent may have something to do with this.
The thought process, however, is in direct opposition to the "vocation fast" that I've been on since my visit to Peoria: no dating, no close guy-friends, no visualizing myself as a nun, no obsessing about my vocation. The point of this was to allow myself time to grow closer to the Lord, just Him and me working on our relationship. And yes, I failed at this.
But perhaps the timing is good, after all. Allow me to explain.

There is this one priest who seems fairly certain that I'm going to enter the convent. He's not the only one who thinks this, but he's the most vocal about it. One of the sisters I met in Peoria was telling me about how this particular priest has a gift for predicting people's vocations.
"Well, that's it," I thought. "I'm going to be a nun." I wasn't expecting this thought to fill me with such sadness and even... was it really?... anger.
"NO!" I lashed out at God in prayer. "What about my spouse, who I've been praying for since I was 12? What about my very own family, with children of my own? What about the beautiful wedding I've been dreaming of? I'm not ready to give this up, God!! I'll do it if you reeeeally want me to, but I'll tell you one thing:
If I AM supposed to be a nun, you sure as hell better make it blatently obvious to me, because I most certainly will NOT enter the convent if there is even a SHADOW of doubt in my mind."
And God wasn't the only one getting an earful.
I complained to my mom, my siblings: "My going to the convent doesn't mean anything! Maybe I just want to go and pray for a couple weeks!! Isn't that ok???"
I complained to the Blessed Mother: "Your Son and I are having a disagreement, so I'm just going to talk to you for a while. How in heaven's name did you manage to be so docile, so humble, so willing to accept ANYTHING He threw at you???"
I complained to St. Therese, my confirmation saint and special patroness: "God and I are fighting, so I'll ask you. I'm starting your novena as soon as I get home. Just tell it to me straight, St. Therese! Give me a white rose if I'm supposed to be a nun. Give me a red one if I'm supposed to get married. Give me a pink rose to say 'wait and see, you're not supposed to know yet.' Ya, I know it's been a while since I prayed that novena. Maybe you won't even give me the rose. How typical that would be."
As I left St. Paul's Cathedral after this very whiny holy hour, my eyes alighted upon the garden along the sidewalk. They were roses, and they were pink. True, there were some white ones and some red ones, but they were mostly all pink. And the roses followed the sidewalk for most of the block. "Ha ha," I thought, "I haven't even said the prayer yet."
I took the bus and the T back to good ol' Bethel Park, because I was singing at evening prayer with the Eucharist exposed for adoration. I still wasn't in the best of spirits. In fact, I was legitimately afraid of speaking to the Lord because I didn't want to hear those words: "I want you to be a nun. Will you marry me?"
But, speak to him I must, because there he was in the church, exposed on the altar, waiting for me. I whined some more. I thought of all the things I would have to give up if I was to become a nun. I cried a little bit, thinking of the children I would never have, the spouse I would never wake up next to. Clearly, the rose garden had not had the desired effect on my heart.
I sang through evening prayer, not meaning a word of the hymns and psalms. "The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom should I be afraid?" Ya, totally not feelin' that.
Toward the end of the night, however, a very small something within me was feeling a very little bit guilty. I knew that this was not a good attitude, but I certainly didn't want to give up on my little whine-fest. Grudgingly I prayed: "Geez, God, I don't even want to talk to you right now, I'm so mad. I know that I should be praying for humility and submission to your will, but I really don't want to."
I know, not the most sincere prayer, but it must have meant something to Him, because I couldn't believe what happened next.
As I was heading back to the tabernacle, this lady walked by me with a huge flower arrangement. I gasped a little bit and said "Oh, how beautiful." She looked and me and said, "You want them? Here, take them. I'm just going to throw them away if you don't." and she starts piling roses into my arms. Pink roses. Then white carnations edged in pink and deep pink sweetheart roses and 2 rosebuds edged in purple. Pink snapdragons and one stalk of purple flowers, and 2 sprays of baby's breath to top it all off. By the time she left, I had a bouquet of pink flowers so full that I could barely fit my hand around the stems. As I gazed at the gorgeous collection, I heard the Lord's voice loud and clear: "Don't worry about all of that silly stuff right now. Please, please just come back to me?" In my mind's eye, I saw a road with a fork in it. To the left, I saw shadows of Him and I walking, hand in hand, straight to heaven. To the right, there we were again, but this time we had another with us: my spouse. The road was a little curvier that way, too. But most importantly, I saw the Lord and I standing on the road before the fork, looking into each others' eyes and smiling at each other. The future makes absolutely no difference to us right now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Love Story

Once, there was a young girl who loved the Lord very much. She didn't know Him very well yet, but she loved what she knew, and she experienced His beauty in her purity and innocence.

When she was 4, she longed to be able to receive the Eucharist as her mother did at daily Mass. She thought that 2nd grade would never come; it seemed so far away.

But come it did: the happiest day of her young life. It was around this time that the girl began to think about a special union with the Lord. She loved to be with Him so much! She prayed about becoming a nun; maybe that was what He wanted her to do. Saint Therese, her special patron, had entered the convent at a very young age; perhaps she could do the same. Therese was 15... 15 seemed so, so far away! Again, how ever could she wait?

In 5th grade, though, her focus changed a bit when a very special boy transferred into her class. She loved everything about him, and she thought of nothing else for several years. 15 came and went without giving the convent so much as a thought.

High school was not much different. She bounced her affections from one boy to another, never receiving any in return. One boy would become her whole world until another came along that seemed better to her. She was always searching but never finding.

Then there was that one guy... He was so attentive, so kind. Desperate to be loved after years of deprivation, she gave in. She let him have her.

The wounds inflicted upon the girl's heart during the few months they were together would take years and years to heal.

"Lord," she said through her suffering, "I need to be loved the right way. I will never heal until someone really loves me fully. This wrong must be set right in my heart. Send me someone to love me as You meant me to be loved."

And the Lord stood up in all of his splendor and gentleness and said, "Well... here I AM."

And the girl fell in love.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jet Lag

The past few weeks have been so crazy for me. School seems like a different world, it was so long ago. Here is just a little taste of the chaos that has been my life recently:

Thursday, April 23: last final. done with statistics forever and ever! hallelujah!!

Friday, April 24: move out of my dorm

Saturday, April 25: start packing for trip to China while frantically trying to get interviews for my final journalism story

Sunday, April 26: continue packing for China while frantically conducting interviews and writing my final journalism story. turn in the story tonight. (final word count: 1278)

Monday, April 27: finish packing for China, drive to New York with dad.

Tuesday, April 28: fly out of JFK airport at 10am NY time. 16 hour flight to Hong Kong

Wednesday, April 29: arrive in Hong Kong 1:00pm their time, 1am NY time. the sun didn't set on us. immediately board another flight to Beijing.

Thursday, April 30 - Sunday, May 10: whirl of touristy activities and concerts in various locations about China

Monday, May 11: last day in China. spend day on beaches of Hong Kong. get sunburned.

Tuesday, May 12: 16-hour flight home to JFK. with sunburn. ouch. worth it. flight leaves 10am Hong Kong time and lands 1pm NY time. drive home with dad. arrive home to jubilantly happy family, distribute souvenirs. pull an all-nighter due to jet lag.

Wednesday, May 13: make breakfast for the fam around 5am. crash around noon. mom wakes me at 6pm, which feels like 6am due to jet lag. grumpy evening. fall back asleep around midnight.

Thursday, May 14: make breakfast again. feeling slightly more awake. spend the day watching my bird, Jack, since he won't let me pick him up anymore. being at college without him sucks. do some research. decide he needs a companion bird. discuss with mother. agreement. run some errands for her. forget how to navigate Bethel Park. just happen to end up at Pet Supplies Plus. buy a bird. come home and hurriedly put her cage together in my room. (requires scrubbing and assembly). Jack knows something is up.
Profile: New Bird
Name: Elliot
Color: bright yellow
Species: Parakeet
Gender: ...unknown... we've all just sort of been calling it a "she" to distinguish from "he," which is Jack
Age: less than 1 year, probably about 3 or 4 months
poor little thing is so scared to spend her first night alone in her new home that she flutters wildly around her cage, keeping me up and bloodying both of her little wings. have to catch her and put cornstarch on them to stop the bleeding.

Friday, May 15: make breakfast again. fam is getting spoiled. am told repeatedly that they hope my jetlag never wears off. Elliot a little better today, sitting on her ladder instead of clinging to the walls of the cage or the floor. Later moves to top perch next to millet spray from where she has yet to move. While reading aloud to her to help her get used to my voice, I fall asleep. in and out of consciousness for the rest of the day, laying on my bed. Elliot watches from across the room, thinking, "boy, no need to worry about this one. she's a total slug."

Saturday, May 16: sleep in until 10 or so. fam makes their own breakfast with leftover pancake batter. convince Jack to sit on my shoulder while I make flower pot covers for the church luncheon tomorrow. he flies away after about half an hour. progress? ya, a little, I guess.

And now I am writing this blog due to my lack of patience with the flower pot covers. And now it's thunderstorming. This day just got a whole lot better... but I should probably get off the computer...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I am currently avoiding entering the study room at the Newman Center. I hate the very thought of going in there to wrestle with my stat homework. This is the third day in a row that I'll be devoting more than 3 hours of my day to homework that I hate! 5 hours on Monday, 3 hours yesterday... probably about 4 hours today. This never happens!!!!
To be perfectly honest, this is probably entirely my fault. I missed 2 of the most recent lectures (I was sick and then it was Holy Week) so I'm having to teach myself all of the stuff for these homeworks just by reading the book.
On the other hand, it's not like the professor really teaches anything during lecture. She is a crazy lady. Funny, but crazy. So maybe I wouldn't have gained anything by going to lecture anyway.

I don't know how much longer I can procrastinate. I really don't have anything new to say since last night...
Oh, dash it all, I guess I just have to go work now. :p

Haikus and Fingernails

I always do my nails while I'm watching TV. The more I watch TV, the better my nails look. I clip and file and shape and touch up the cuticles.
It's finals week, sooo... my nails look great!
You may also have noticed that I'm blogging a lot more frequently. This is also due to finals week. Frequent study breaks are required for my to stay concentrated on any one thing (namely, Statistics) for very long before I fall asleep. I really am getting to the end, I think. Maybe the last third or so?
Ok, it's bedtime. There's sure to be more soon.
Lately I've been really into haikus, so I'll close with this little tidbit:

my sleepiness grows
underpaid, overworked brain
it is finals week

hahaha. that was so fun. here's another:

i was up 'til 5
and now i just feel tired
coffee, nevermore

wow i really suck at this...
it really is time for bed

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Is a Caffeine Buzz Supposed to Last This Long?

I drank a couple cups of coffee about 5 hours ago... and I'm still wide awake. They weren't even full cups; they were half creamer because I hate the taste of coffee. I don't drink coffee very often... but I needed the stamina for studying. I usually just fall asleep when I open my Stat book and I really could not do that tonight. But NOW, when I actually NEED to sleep... no dice.

I am getting work done, though. I'm making the best of my wakefulness. I'm finally writing that draft for my final journalism story that was due over a week ago.

But seriously... doesn't caffeine wear off after a few hours? Am I more sensitive to it than most people or just incredibly naive concerning the ways of coffee?

Oh Lordy... maybe if I drank some warm milk...

It is 4 in the morning!! This is insane!!

Thank God I don't have anything going on tomorrow morning, or I would be sleeping through it.
Or maybe not. Maybe this won't hit me until Wednesday... when I have a Sociology final.

Wouldn't that just be perfect timing.

Argghhh I am never drinking coffee again!! Ever!! I don't even like it! It's bad for your voice and it makes me an emotional wreck! And it tastes bad!!!

Ok, I'm done now. I should really get back to my journalism draft.

St. Joseph of Cupertino

And now, some fun finals week inspiration.

For those of you who don't know about good ol' St. Joe, he is the patron saint of students. (This is, obviously, a different St. Joe than the earthly father of Jesus.) He earned this distinction through a pretty awe-inspiring happenstance...

St. Joe was a very poor student. For whatever reason, he had great difficulties with school and with studying. Yet he knew that God was calling him to be a priest. Yes, he knew this, but he also knew that the seminary involves extremely rigorous schooling. He didn't think he'd make it, but he trusted in the Lord and took the plunge.
The night before his final exam, when he would be questioned by the bishop himself, he tried and tried to study, but due to his poor study skills, was only able to learn the materials on one topic.
As he stood in the last place in a line of seminarians, watching them all be questioned so severely, he knew that he could not make it through the questioning. He prayed as the bishop moved down the line, getting closer and closer to St. Joe.
And then something miraculous happened: just as the bishop approached the end of the line, he was called away. He only had time to ask St. Joe one question... a question on the only topic that St. Joe had been able to study.
God is so good!
St. Joe passed and became a wonderful priest, and then a saint! All because he trusted in the Lord, even when things looked really impossible.

And now for my own personal St. Joseph of Cupertino encounter...

I had a ton of statistics homework to do in about 4 hours: 2 weeks worth of homework due and 2 quizzes to take in class that night. I hadn't done a holy hour yet that day, though, and I solved this problem by taking my stat homework to St. Pauls Cathedral and sitting myself down with it right in front of the tabernacle. Study date with the Lord. "Lord," I said, "I hate doing this work and I'm a little worried about getting it all done. Please help me out!"
About 2 hours into my work, I realized that there was no way on earth that it was going to be done by the time I had class. In despair, I whispered, "St. Joseph of Cupertino, help me!"
I only had time to finish one of the homeworks, #8. Homework #9 remained unfinished, and I had not even looked at the materials for the two quizzes. Feeling defeated, I trudged off to class.
I sat through my entire stat lecture, awaiting my fate. As lecture ended, the TA stood up in front of the class and said some words that I will probably never forget:
"Hey, just so you guys know, I think this weeks work was really hard, so we're not gonna take the quizzes today. And you only have to turn in homework #8. You can just get #9 to me sometime next week."
Holy... geez. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Seriously?? I sat there in disbelief for several minutes before the relief and thanksgiving washed over me. "Thank you, Lord!" I whispered. "Thank you, St. Joseph of Cupertino!!!"

So, fellow students, I encourage you whole-heartedly to ask St. Joe to pray for you, this week and always. He obviously has a very specialy place in his heart for all of us, and God has given him a lot of power to help us.

Happy Finals Week! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Learning Not to Be Strong

Recently I stumbled across the work of this beautiful artist, Yiruma. He's a pianist and a composer, and his work is phenomenal. It makes me feel.
He creates this airy, floating piano music. Listening to it is like basking in morning sunlight or sipping fresh milk or sinking into an immense feather bed.
Sometimes, when I hear this music, I feel immensely happy, like a princess chasse-ing across a ballroom. A smile lights up my face and I feel at peace and filled with joy in the Lord.
More often, though, the music makes me sad. More than once has it moved me to tears, real tears of loneliness or despair.

This has been a recurring issue for me: tears... vulnerability.
There are very few times when I feel comfortable crying. If something makes me feel sad, I don't let myself cry, especially not in public. I want to be strong. Even at funerals. Even when everyone around me is crying, too. Even when my heart is broken.
Things have changed, though, since I've drawn closer to the Lord. "Cry," He says to me. "Your tears are beautiful. They show that I matter to you, that My work matters to you. They show your weakness and your vulnerability and your beauty. They show that you need Me, My little one."
This world is a sorrowful place. There are many things to weigh us down and many things to pull us away from the Lord, Who is our source of strength and happiness. We live in a "valley of tears."

So, when I hear this music and feel sad hearing it, then I know: something is amiss in my life. There is some trial that I am not dealing with well, though everything may seem fine on the surface. So I let the tears come. And I bring them to the Lord. And I tell Him everything. And He smiles at me and brings joy back into my heart with His love and His graces. And soon I am smiling again as I wipe the tears from my eyes.

So you see, in avoiding the tears and the feelings we rely on our own strength to deal with the situation at hand. The key is learning NOT be strong so that we may share those tender moments with our Lord, Who wishes for nothing more than to be there with us through all our sufferings and failings. He loves us so very much. Cry, and let Him love you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Tonight I went to Tango Club for the first time. It was their last meeting of the year. Ironic.
Anywho, before tonight, I had only ever danced in the American style of tango. Tango club dances Argentinian style.
The American style is strict, with a set posture, and a seldom-changing basic step. The step turns for promenade and a few flourishes of the feet, but is mostly the same. Also, the girl must never look at the guy; her head is turned to the left and tipped back away from him as though she is turning up her nose to his attempts to woo her. In fact, the drama of the dance comes from the tension between the guy and the girl.
Argentine tango is much more free-flowing. The strict posture and steps are not as important, but being tuned in to your partner is! This dance is very unpredictable, and it is up to the guy to lead the girl into whatever step he chooses, while it is up to the girl to follow him well. There is no "basic step," so to speak, because the dance is supposed to feel very natural. The posture is much more relaxed, and close! The drama of this dance definitely comes from the passion between the man and the woman.
Both styles are breathtakingly beautiful. The posture and tone of American tango is delightful, while the footwork in the Argentine tango is fantastic. When you're with a strong lead, even the more intricate footwork seems simple, and there's so much you can do!
Basically, I'm falling more and more in love with tango every time I encounter it! I think I've finally found a dance that I think is beautiful AND I can do well, after years of struggling through ballet classes.
This afternoon I was so stressed out, and tango club seemed like just one more thing on my list of things to do (don't worry, Mom, I had to go to make up a class, I was NOT just wasting time haha). But now I'm so glad that I went, because afterward I was happy again. The exercise and the concentration on something totally new cleared my mind completely. It's like hitting the reset button in a most enjoyable way.
Next semester, the Tango club can count me in as a regular member! Also there are, apparently, Tango Nights every Wednesday at Peters Pub! Who knew? I'm pretty pumped. Why, oh why did I wait until the week before finals to get involved?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Week

Ah, this most blessed week of the year. So far it has been loaded with suffering. It's only to be expected. Embrace the cross, y'all. Just do it. It makes the resurrection that much sweeter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

O How Things Have Changed...

I laugh when I look back and read over my first entry of this semester. I thought I had things sooo together. How wrong I was.
Not a week has gone by since then that I could call "normal" with a clear conscience. I am either going through a crisis or recovering from one. I guess that's what life really is, eh? How silly of me to think otherwise.
But I see now that it's better this way, too. I'd much rather be out there, experiencing the highs and lows of life than sticking to the comfortable, everyday schedule I'd set for myself. My Lord God knows how to plan a week much better than I do.
I can't wait to see where He takes me next. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Things

Lately I've noticed a lot of things happening around campus indicating the coming of spring, but none were substantial enough to blog about, so here I shall lump them all into one. Ha!

First, the most obvious, is that love is in the air. We all know that when the weather gets warmer, things start to heat up emotionally, too. Lots of couples holding hands lately. Everyone looks so happily in love. How cute! ("How gay..." name that show!!....... too late: Never Trust a Tattooed Sailor. Gah love it! Remember when the bible EXPLODED during the wedding scene?? O man, I still laugh about that sometimes hahahahaha)

Free Rita's Ice Day = craziness!! Who knew? Well, maybe some people knew, but I, being a first-year resident of Oakland, had no idea that people would line up all the way down the sidewalk and around the corner for free Rita's!! Even after the sun went down and it was clearly too cold to enjoy the frosty treat, there they all were.

My sister's birthday is the first day of spring. What a sweet-awesome day to have a birthday!! So happy birthday to you, dear sister! xoxo! I won't say how old you are, wink wink.

The crocuses are blooming!!!!! So pretty!! Actually, bulbs are shooting up all over campus. It makes me smile. One of my friends told me today that saffron comes from crocuses and is worth more than its weight in gold. I was shocked and asked how people in India afforded to put it in all their food, and he said they grew their own. Nice. I've gotta start growin' me some saffron and SELLING IT!!! muahahahahaha!!!!

It rained all day today. My pants were soaked. Why am I so short?? And why are there so many puddles around Oakland??? April showers, will you please hold off until April? Let's not be too hasty here, eh?

Today was also the Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she was to be the mother of God. I went to noon Mass and did not pay attention to the homily in the slightest. Lordy, how my mind wanders! I love this feast day, though, because I love mamma Mary, and how loving and gentle she is. I wanna shout out to my family today, cuz they finally finished their consecration to Mary!! Yay family!! Enjoy those good graces! and share, please... ;)

Excitingly enough, today was (fanfare, please) opening night to Bethel Park High School's musical!! I've had butterflies in my stomach all day. And I'm not even in the show. I'm not even in Bethel Park right now!! Oy. But I will be there on Friday and Saturday! I can't wait. I don't know how I'm going to live for the next two days. O my god, the show is going on right now, as I write this. It's too much... I so wish I was there!

Well, that about sums it up... I was going to attach pictures to this post, seeing as I have a camera now for the first time in over a year, but alas, I have left the cord for connecting to my computer at home. I hope I rememeber that when I'm home this weekend. Then my blog will be a multimedia event!!! YES!!

Friday, March 6, 2009


What's with the saying "icing on the cake?"
I know it means that something happened that was really good, but it didn't matter because the situation was already so delicious.
But seriously... cake is no good without icing. I mean, sure, it's still pretty tasty. But most cakes need a little something, even in all their glory.
This insinuates that "icing on the cake" is actually a necessary happening, at least in my opinion.
So now we need a new expression to explain that happy occasion that occurs when you're already pleased with what you've got.
I would suggest "the icing roses on the cake" because those are definitely superfluous, but they're also sometimes gross and completely unwelcome.
Thus, I have decided that the correct way to express this sentiment is "the sugar rose on the butter lamb."
Those of you who are not Polish need not try to understand.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ellen: Revisited

I have come to terms with the fact that I do look like Ellen DeGeneres. I'm a little bummed because that's not exactly the image I've been striving for, but whatever. I still see it as a compliment, considering that Ellen is famous and all. She must be somewhat good-looking.
Thanks for all the feedback! Keep reading!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So, lately people have been telling me that I look like Ellen DeGeneres.
It all started with the workers at the grill in Cathedral Cafe. "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ellen Degeneres?" he asked me. "Well, no, actually. But I can see how you would think that." "Hey, everyone look over here! Who does this girl remind you of?" "Hmmm let me see... Ellen! Ellen DeGeneres!" "Yeah!" At this point, noticing my slight discomfort with the situation, the guy who originally caused the scene turned to me and said "Don't worry, it's a compliment. Be sure to come back sometime!" I smiled as I hurridly grabbed my chicken quesadillas and scooted out of there. Yes, I was blushing. I always blush when I'm the center of attention. Can't help it!
I got down to the costume shop to eat my lunch and then get some work done, and what do you know, my boss also commented on my semblance to Ellen! She said that something about the way my hair was flipped up made me look like her.
So, I was ready to forget all this when today, as I was ordering at the grill (quesadillas again, vegetable this time), another worker, who clearly hadn't been there the day of the great hullabaloo about an Ellen lookalike, also noticed me as I waited for my dish to be served up. "This girl looks like Ellen DeGeneres!" "Yep, I know it." "She's a real cutiepie!" Although I must admit that a very ego-centric part of my mind was flattered by the conversation, I was nervous about a repeat of the previous semester's performance and hoped that my food would be ready soon. Luckily for me, not another word was said on the subject, and I was able to check out in peace.
But now I have to wonder: what gives?? Do I seriously look so remarkably much like Ellen that people feel the need to comment? I'm not dissing the cafe people - I know they meant absolutely no harm - but do I really look like her? I mean, I've never seen the show, but of course I know what she looks like. Maybe it's because I'm finally growing my hair out a bit, or maybe it's the way I wore my eye makeup on those two occasions. Whatever the reason, I'm not sure how I feel about this recent developement. Perhaps you, my dear readers, can shed some light on the topic. Do you think I look like Ellen? If so, why? What resemblance do you see?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Second Semester

So, sorry to the few of you who actually read this regularly that I haven't updated since school started! I have been a tad busy...
Second semester is going to be such a huge challenge for me! Because of my night classes, I am now able to work for most of the day, but this also means that I have way less free time, because the time I used to be in classes is now spent working and the time I used to have for myself is now spent going to classes! This means that there are only 2 weeknights that I have to myself, now, so I need to be super organized and focused to get stuff done.
In addition to decreased time, I also now have more schoolwork on my hands. The two night classes require a lot of work to be done during the rest of the week, and this semester's classes are more... shall we say... substantial than last semester's. My quantitative reasoning requirement is being filled by a Basic Applied Statistics class every Thursday night from 6 - 8:30 and my writing prerequisite, Intro to Journalism, is held every Wednesday night at the same time. These two require lots and lots of extra work to be done, with quizzes every week and homework/stories due most weeks as well.
After my first week of classes here, my schedule seemed impossible and I looked forward to the next 13 weeks with anxiety and dismay. It was only as I entered all the syllabus information from all my classes onto my one big calender, though, that I realized how demanding my schedule really was. I saw that things would have to change in order for me to succeed this semester; I couldn't breeze through life as I usually am able to do. In response to this troubling realization, I imposed a strict but manageable set of rules upon myself to address problems that I knew I would run into.

Problem: lack of energy during the day, trouble sleeping at night
Solution: Since my day doesn't start until 11:00am as far as classes and work go, I decided to wake up at 9 or so to work out. I listen to fun, upbeat, cheerful music as I do this, and it has truly helped to put me in the best of moods every morning. This has also solved the original problem of energy/sleep issues.

Problem: disorganization
Solution: I have set aside Saturdays as my "housekeeping" day, as my mother refers to it. Saturdays are always Chore Days in my parents' house, and it feels natural to continue the trend even now that I'm pretty much on my own. This day will be spent tidying up my little room, organizing my desk and bag for the upcoming week, and attending to other housekeeping tasks such as balancing the checkbook and grocery shopping. Of course it would be best if I could also make the effort during the week to keep things well organized, but knowing me, this is just not always possible, so Saturdays it is.

Problem: distraction/procrastination
Solution: TV watching is strictly forbidden during the week. This was my #1 distraction until recently. (online episodes of scrubs = <3!!!!) Now that I've disallowed it, though, my evenings are full of reading, for school and for pleasure. I've also taken up listening to Italian radio in the hopes that it will help me to learn the language. Once all the reading makes me feel a bit drowsy, I slip into my pajamas, complete any written work (usually a worksheet for Italian class) and snuggle under my deliciously soft blankets for a good night's sleep. Other things that used to distract me were disorganized drawers and such, but now that I've set a day aside for that, too, I no longer feel the need to deal with it when I should be studying.
This has perhaps been the biggest step for me, because now that my free time is being managed well, I'm not even tempted to go back to the time-wasting that I previously indulged in. I feel like I can do anything.

Problem: a dwindling faith life
Solution: I am now making an effort to get to Mass every day, and when my schedule won't allow it, to spend at least half an hour with Him in Eucharistic Adoration. I'm also going to try to get to Confession every week; we'll see how this goes. I am amazed at how close the Lord has pulled me to Himself after such a short while of making these efforts to be with Him. I would go on, but it would make this blog twice as long as it already is. Perhaps more on this later...
Basically, because of my closeness with Him, He is blessing every area of my life in ways that I never even dreamed imaginable. He has made all of these "solutions" visible to me, and given me the grace to carry them out. But yes, more later.

Well, it is definitely time to wrap it up; I've already gone on longer than I intended to. Fare thee well, dear readers!