Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Mysterious Case of the Exploding Tire

This is my car.  She is a 1997 Camry.  She has 229,000 miles on her and she has served me well over these past few years.   Her name is the Dreymobile, because she is named after my older sister Audrey. 
Last week, while taking her home with me for a two hour drive on the interstate, we (the car and I) almost died.  You see, my tire exploded.  That's right, it literally exploded.  It was epic!  I was really tired, so at first I didn't even realize what was happening.  I thought that I had swerved onto the reflectors dividing the lanes.  It took me a little while to realize that it was my tire.  When I finally put two and two together, I put my emergency lights on and slowly pulled over to a nearby exit ramp.  I parked on the shoulder and tried to assess the damage.   At this point, it was 9:30 at night, my phone was dying, and I was alone.  My Aunt lives about thirty minutes from where I was, so I tried to call her.  She didn't answer, so I left a voicemail.  After that, I called my mom, who lives an hour away (at the home I was trying to get to), no answer, I left a voicemail.  Then I did what I should probably have done first, I called 911.  They forwarded me to the city police for the city I was nearest.  I told them where I was and they said that they would send help.

Here's the tire: 

Here's another shot:
 So, determined not to be the typical damsel in distress, I decided to change the tire myself.   Now before I go further, I would like to explain something.   Until the day that my tire exploded, I had never changed a tire.  That said, it occurred to me last January, that it is probably very important that I learn how.  Unfortunately, every time I asked someone to teach me I got a mocking, patronizing speech to this effect, "What's to know?  All you do is jack up the car, take off the bad tire, put on the spare, take the car down and you're done."  Being thus put off, my education in tire-changing was delayed.

Back to the story:  I opened my trunk, moved it's contents (all of my WH dishes and business supplies) up to the back seat of the car.  Then I dug out my spare tire, my lug wrench, and my jack.  First off, I jacked up the car (before you comment, keep reading.  I will explain all).  Then I painstakingly loosened one lug at a time.  It took forever, because the tire kept turning.  (I eventually discovered that you're supposed to loosen the lugs before you jack up the car.)  After some effort I managed to get four of five lugs off.  Then I made a terrible discovery; the last lug wasn't shaped like the rest and the lug wrench didn't fit it!

Here's the lug:

 At this point, about twenty minutes had passed and no help had come.  Sure a couple of cops, about eleven eighteen-wheelers, and a few other cars had passed by, but no one had stopped to help.  (I found out later that if you put your hood up, cops are legally required to stop.)  Now my phone had begun blinking rapidly to warn me that the battery was on it's last leg.  Finally, my phone rang.  It was my mom.  I told her where I was and that no help had come, then my phone died.

Now, to be quite honest, I was feeling more than a little bit scared at the point.  My phone was completely dead,  I was alone, I wasn't even sure if I had told my mom the right exit, and I was really tired.  I searched my trunk again, trying to find some other lug wrench or something to get that last lug off.  No success.  After that, it occurred to me to read the owners manual on changing tires.  (This is where I learned that you need to loosen the lugs before you jack up the car.)  But there wasn't a word about one of the lugs being different than the others or requiring a special piece.

Resigned to waiting, I tried to find ways to pass the time.  I also came up with a plan of action for if help never came.  I had my phone charger, but it wasn't a car charger.  So, if help didn't come, my plan was to tear an unimportant page from my owner's manual, write a note to whoever might come explaining where I was going, and walk down the exit ramp to the Motel 6 to charge my phone and see what could be done.  A third cop passed me, but he was pulling someone over for something, so they parked at the far end of the ramp.  As I waited, it began to really worry me that I had told Mom the wrong exit, so I started to walk back up the road to the sign before the exit.

I didn't get far when help finally came, so I ran back to my car to meet the cop who was pulling up.  (It was actually two cops in the car.)  They got out and examined my predicament.  They informed me that the troublesome lug is called a locking lug and the piece for it is kept in the glove compartment.  Stupid owner's manual.  But that was only half of my problem.

As it turns out, one must put the jack on pavement lest it max out and still not be high enough to put the spare on.  So the cops had to figure out another way to get the car up high enough to finish the job.  While they were trying to work it out, another police car arrived.  So now, me and three cops stood on the side of the exit ramp trying to figure out my problem.  Then the police officer who had pulled someone over, backed his car up to us and got out to join the party.   Between the four, very kind state police officers, they were finally able to get the spare on and send me on my way.

My school and my apartment are only about ten minutes away from where my tire blew out so I pulled over there to charge my phone and call home to let my mom know that everything was okay.   She told me that when she had called the state police, they had heard nothing of my trouble.  If she hadn't called, I could have been waiting all night.  It was 11:45 when I finally got to school and just about 1:00AM when I got home.  In the end it was quite an adventure and now I know how to change a tire.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Kiss today goodbye...

Another semester has come and gone.  Soon I will be done with college and on to new and different things.  A number of my good friends have already graduated or are about to graduate and I find myself a tiny bit overwhelmed by the prospect of these huge changes that are rolling my way.  Yet change does and must come and she and I are becoming well acquainted with one another.  Soon we will be old friends.

I'm glad to that I'm about to discover a little bit more of what God has in store for me and I'm glad to be done (almost) with undergrad.  I'm looking forward to seeing new places and meeting new people.   But I'm going to miss many things.  I'll miss taking long walks with my friends, having heart to heart until 3 and 4 in the morning, being able to walk to daily Mass, walking to get around in general, being able to play hooky, having most of my closest friends living within walking distance, and having summer's off.

Still, for those of y'all who helped make all of those great things that I'll miss possible to begin with, thank you!  I appreciate having you in my life and I hope that you will always know how much you mean to me. 


Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Case of the Missing Time

Here's the thing, folks, finals week is here and I'm already behind on my work.  Why, you might ask, am I writing this blog post?  Procrastination seems, at the moment, to be the most plausible answer. 

As I look at my exam schedule for the week, I become a bit anxious about how I am possibly going to get everything done!  There is so much work to be done.  I don't understand why this finals week is so bad for me.  I've survived semesters wherein I had six finals, so this semester, with its measly four finals, should be a piece of cake, right?  Well, I thought so, but apparently that is not the case.

So, why are my finals so challenging?  History.  No, I don't have a bad history with finals.  I'm taking three history classes.  I don't know about you, but I am notoriously bad at remember dates.  I mean, I'm lucky if I manage to get the right century.   I'm just atrocious at that particular form of memorization.  The only reason I can keep American and British periods separate is because - I kid you not - of the changes in fashion.

So what's a girl to do?  If I have three days per test(as I've had for most of the semesters), then I might have a prayer of getting all of these dates straight.  But I don't have three days.  For some tests, I only have half a day.

As if that weren't enough, I have to keep Chinese and Indian names straight.  I have to remember what Sun Yat-sen, Liang Shikai, Li Hongzhang, Li Hongji, Hong Xiuquan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Muhammad Iqbal, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Chanakya, Artashastra, and are and what there significance is.... *sigh*  For some of you, this may not seem such a daunting task, but again, I would need more time to memorize all of this info.

Okay, well, I'm officially done complaining about my finals week.  This is my second to last semester as an undergrad student, maybe my second last semester ever!  So, I shall take heart and plunge into my work before any more time is lost! 

P.S. If you have any tips for studying names and dates quickly, shoot them my way. Thanks!  =)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Case of the Writer's Block

 So, as many of you know, I love to write stories.  It's been a hobby of mine since I was about ten.  None of my stories are particularly good, probably because none of them are particularly finished, except for two short stories that I wrote, one for a cousin and one for a friend who was having a rough time.  In spite of my best efforts, these short stories were not very good.

However, my lack of innate talent has not lessened my determination to finish and polish ALL of my slightly better, much longer stories.  I am currently working on two projects.  The first is that story which was temporarily posted here in installments.  It will be available here once again, when it's finished.  Don't hold your breath.  The other story is a super hero story about myself and some of my close friends from the high school days.

My short term goal is to finish those two.  The super hero one will hopefully be finished by Christmas, so that I can give it to the old gang while they're all in town for the Holidays.  The other one will hopefully be complete by the time I graduate in May.  If I can swing that, then I will consider myself quite accomplished.

So, in an effort to improve my chances of finishing these stories by the target times, I have enlisted the help of a very generous expert: Holly Lisle.   Ms. Lisle is a full time author with 32 published novels who has a website that is completely devoted to assisting and training aspiring authors.  It's wonderful!  She offers online courses, but she also offers free writing tips.  I am currently enrolled in her free Plot-Outlining Course (if you're interested, check it out here).

I have certainly found Holly's tips and tricks useful, but I think the best thing that she has given me is the motivation to push beyond writer's block.  It is as if each time one of her writing tips appears in my inbox a little voice goes off in my head saying, "you need to keep up with your writing".  To you, this may not seem like much, but I cannot begin to say how much a consistent reminder helps.  It sort of creates the illusion of someone eagerly hounding me to finish so they can read it.  It's nice.  It gives my writing a purpose.  It gives me hopes of finishing and finishing well a sense of being possible.  I like that!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Case of the Wal-Mart Damsel

Today one of my roommates and I went to Wal-Mart in order to purchase some items with which to make a care package.  As we were parking a lady came and knocked on my car window.   We rolled down the window to discover that she was a woman in distress.

Apparently, the lady, named Phyllis was driving with her four children(two of them newborns, twins) when her can broke down on the interstate.  Phyllis had called 911, who called roadside assistance.  Then, roadside assistance brought her to the IHOP near Wal-Mart, but informed her that her car was not safe to drive home (her home was about an hour and a half away).  She said she called a couple of local Churches, the St. Vincent de Paul center, and the bus service, but could not find help.  Finally, she called a cab service, but she was short $16 and asked if my roommate and I would be willing to either find her a ride or just give her the $16.

My initial response was, it's only $16.  That's not very much money, right?  Certainly I can spare $16 to help someone in need.   But then it occurred to me that it might just be a scam.   And if the lady approaches 30 people in an hour and 1 in 3 people give her the $16, then in only 5 hours, that would be $800.  If it was a scam, it could certainly be a profitable one.  I asked the lady for her phone number and gave her mine, then I told her that I would get back to her after we got our groceries.

So, first things first, I called my mom.  She said she would not give the lady anything were she in my shoes.  Then my roommate called one of the churches that Phyllis claimed to have called.  They said that they hadn't heard anything of that nature, but if they had, they would only be able to help a parishioner as their funds were limited.  Still not convinced that it was a scam and wanting to help Phyllis if it wasn't,  I called the police department.

They sent an officer over to look into it.   The officer seemed to believe that it was a scam but agreed to take a look around the Wal-Mart and IHOP parking lots to make sure that she didn't need help.  In the end, I think that it turned out to be a scam, but either way if it hadn't been a scam, then the good officer would have helped Phyllis and goodness will be served!

That said, how would you have handled this situation?  I'm really interested to know.  =)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Case of the Sleeping Student

So I have this babysitting job once a week.  It's on Wednesday mornings from 7:45-10:30.  I love the little boy I babysit.   He's so cute and smiley!  The trouble is, I'm pretty sure I'm about to lose the job.

Why?  Well, the answer is simple enough.  I have been late due to oversleeping no less than 6 of 11 times.  Pretty bad, right?  I've tried just about everything I can think of: going to bed early, setting multiple alarms, having my employer text me as a reminder.  It's looking pretty grim, folks.  So, what's a girl to do?

I really don't want to lose the job, but the parents of this little boy need to get to work/school in a timely manner and if they can't depend on me, then that's a problem.  This morning, I actually woke up to my alarm, couldn't figure out why it went off so early and adjusted it to go off at 9:45.  It will be a miracle if I still have this job by the end of the month.

Any advice?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tough luck...

Allow me to geek out for a moment.  I LOVE J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings(LOTR).  It is one of my favorite books.  I feel that there is so much that a person might learn from reading this story. 

Today's LOTR lesson is: Life is Hard.
Life is incredibly hard.   I'm sure that we've all had those days when we just feel that we cannot go on.  It's painful.  There is an overwhelming sense of long, unending, difficult monotony.  We think to ourselves, "This is it.  It's never going to get better.  This feeling is not going to end.  Everything is such a struggle.  I want to quit.  It's all such an impossible mess."

Think of Frodo.  A lot of people don't like Frodo.  For some, that is exclusively do to the Elijah Wood interpretation of Frodo.  For others, they just feel that Frodo is a difficult, whiny, weak, and pathetic character.  In some ways, I think that's true.  Frodo complains.  Frodo is weak and fragile.  He is injured.  He carries a burden that is too great for him.  There is an evil, which is always pulling at his heart, begging him to give up.   He has to take this great evil, which lurks in his own heart, and destroy it.  All the while, this evil whispers, "Just give up.  If you give up, this will all be over.  All of this pain, all of this struggle will all be over if you just give up."
For me, the entirety of Frodo's struggle is excellently captured in the above picture.  You guys, I've been there.  I've been there so many times.  It stinks.  Sometimes, things are just bad, with no consolations.  It happens.

Sometimes, the pain doesn't go away for a long time.  Even after the cause of the pain is long gone, sometimes the pain remains.  Sometimes, we don't get closure.  Sometimes, it takes a long time to just begin to move on.

Before you freak out, I am not currently in such a place, but I know a few people who are or have recently been there.  So, it's on my mind and now I'm writing about it.  There are so many people who know what I'm talking about and it really isn't fun. 

So, here is the second LOTR Lesson of the Day: There is Hope
No matter how dark things get, no matter how alone you feel, no matter how how desperate things seem, there is always hope.  At the end of all things, there is something worth fighting for.  There is a reason for keep on keeping on.  Don't abandon that.  Don't give up.  =)  You matter to someone.  You matter to me!  Don't be afraid to face the hard stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ten Lepers

Today at Mass, our associate pastor gave a very insightful homily regarding today's Gospel reading(Luke 17:11-19).   He began by focusing on something which I often don't really think about: leprosy.   Anyone who reads the Bible has at one time or another encountered a passage that deals with the subject of leprosy, but do we ever stop and think about what leprosy meant to someone in Jesus's time?  Or even to someone of our time who lacks the necessary resources to be cured?  Well, here's an idea for you:
For a better understanding of the technical aspects of the disease click here.
Leprosy is horrible, painful, slow, hideous, divisive, lonely, depressing, and so much more to the person afflicted with the disease without a hope for a cure.  

Take a moment to think about that.   Really.  Think about it.

That is what sin does to our souls.  It slowly eats away at the life within us.  It cripples us.  It isolates us from what is good.  It leaves us alone and without hope.  We are in pain.  There is no escape.

Sin brings doubt, fear, distrust, anger, selfishness, loneliness, restlessness, despair, sickness, and suffering.

Enter Jesus!

He lovingly and persistently offers a way to be healed.  It is not an easy way.  It is a way of sacrifice.  A way of martyrdom.  But it is a way of supreme joy and love.  It is such a beautiful thing to be healed and alive!   There is such a peace in knowing that you are no longer decaying from within.  Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Sweet Friend...

Today is my girl's feast day.  St. Therese and I have so much history.  She's pretty much been there with me, the whole way.   Her life is a special witness to God's grace because it was so ordinary.  St. Therese was sort of a spoiled little girl and she was a tender, sensitive person.   She wasn't tough.  She wanted to be.  She had a great admiration for Joan of Arc.   She was certainly no great fighter like Joan, or at least not physically.

But Therese had a great love for her Lord.   More importantly, she trusted blindly in His great love for her.  She had no fear as she threw herself at the feet of His benevolent mercy.  

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Art of Writing Battle Scenes

So, I've been working on this story about superheroes (it is completely unrelated to the one I previously made available on my blog).   To make it even nerdier, it's about me and some of my friends as superheroes.   Now, there is a long back story about how I came to be writing this, but we'll leave that for another post. 

Anyway, the reason I bring it up is I've sort of hit a wall.   You see, I can't write battle scenes.  Either they're over simple(e.g. D punched M, but M dodged, etc.) or they're too technical(e.g. D leaped into the air from a cat stance to deliver a flying front snap kick, only to be diverted by M's single knife-hand block, which threw him off balance and sent him tumbling).   The first one is boring, but the second one will loose readers in technical jargon, unless they read up on all the styles of martial arts that will be featured(i.e. krav maga, sambo, tae kwon do, judo, ido, kendo, jiu jitsu, zui chuan, kick-boxing, archery, and a few others).  

Maybe I'll just skip out on the writing of these particular scenes and just resort to illustrating them in a comic strip!  I jest, of course, as my illustrations in this area are also deficient.

*sigh*  What is a young, enthusiastic writer to do?

Well, as I have only ever finished two of my stories, I am quite determined to conquer this.  So I will continue researching martial arts styles, maybe read a few books with epic hand-to-hand combat and get back to you on that.

In other news, today is apparently National Coffee Day.  Personally, I think that coffee is disgusting, but for those of you who love it, you might be able to get free coffee on this day (according to this site:  Personally, I'm a bit skeptical about the entire holiday as Wikipedia doesn't seem to know anything about it, but I won't be a hater.  Enjoy your coffee, if you can, and have a happy National Coffee Day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

O be careful little mouth what you say...

I once heard a story about a woman who struggled with gossip.  It wasn't really a struggle, because she didn't really fight.  Every day she would share "the latest news" of what was going on in everyone else's life.  There was no filter.  She was a sweet old woman and easy to talk to, so everyone came to her with their troubles.  Many people knew that she couldn't keep her mouth shut, but they loved her and knew that she meant no harm, so they let it go.

That wasn't the lady's only problem though.  Her lack of a filter extended much further than that.  This woman also gave plenty of unsolicited advice.  If you had a problem, she would always tell you what she thought you needed to do to fix it.  In that sense, listening wasn't really her thing.  Again, however, people knew that she meant well, so they let it go.

But one day the woman inadvertently went too far.  She told secrets that were too personal, she gave advice that was too blunt.  Then, those around her reacted with horror and hurt.  The woman was devastated and hurried to Confession to seek advice from her pastor.

He advised her to take a bag of feathers and spread them all around town, then to go back the next day and gather them up.  The woman didn't really understand the point of the exercise, but she knew that her pastor was a wise man and so she followed his advice.  She scattered the feathers throughout her little town and the next day went to gather them up again.  But she was only able to find twelve feathers.  All the others had blown away, or were picked up by someone else.  Later that day, she went to her pastor and asked him about the little exercise.

He likened words to the feathers.  Once you spread them, it is very difficult to gather them back up again.

I am not this woman.  I am not the cute, sweet, lovable, reckless, old lady.

I do struggle with being careless with my speech.  I say struggle because it's something that I've been working on for as long as I can remember.  That said, I've made minimal progress.  Just so you know, I am working on it.

And if you're like me and don't know when to keep your mouth shut, remember that words are very powerful and that once they are said, they can never be unsaid.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Summer of Great Beginnings!

This summer I made a to-do list.  It had lots of epic things on it.  Here are the things that I accomplished this summer:
  • Spend quality time with my mother and sisters (we had a girls weekend)
  • Get through the summer job with good humor and cheer
  • Learn to shoot a gun (my dear friends, Nonnie, took me out in the woods and taught me)
  • Turn twenty-one
  • Try sake
  • Try a daquiri
  • Eat at the two-story restaurant about half an hour from my home
  • Get contacts
  • Read "Come Be My Light" (I'm only halfway done with this)
  • Write a super-hero story(Also halfway done)
  • Assemble a business wardrobe
  • Write my resume
  • Start a company (I am now an independent Design Consultant for Willow House -
  • Renew my total Consecration to Jesus through Mary(renewal was on August 15th!)
  • Get paid an hourly wage to sing(I was the paid entertainment for two night at the nursing home)
  • See Inception(twice)
  •  Figure out the kind of person I want to be and then become that kind of person(it's a work in progress)
Needless to say, this has been quite an eventful summer.  What are some of the thing you checked off of your list this summer?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moments of Grace

           Some days are like perfect, romantic, little gifts.  They are overwhelmingly beautiful and they surround you with hope and joy.  Today a experienced such a moment with my mother.  The two of us had been running errands and getting ready for upcoming events.  We were both in my car, with the rain storming outside and the lightning flashing.  There as we made our way home amidst the harsh weather conditions, I found myself sharing a story about a special time, when God reached out to me in a special way through song.

           It was a night when I was at one of my lowest points.  Many times in my life I have done things that I am not proud of and this had been one such time.  I couldn't sleep and I didn't want to.  I felt broken beyond any hope of mending.  I looked into my heart and all I could see was wretchedness.  I was thoroughly disgusted with myself.  It was one of the darkest moments of my life.  I had fallen down and was so very close to giving up, but there was something holding me back.  A song held me back.

           A few years before I had been on a retreat where I had received a CD called "Wake Up Dead People" by Sean Forrest.  On that CD there was a song that I had all but forgotten.  Still there was a part of that song that played in my head over and over again.  The words were, "I saw Jesus holding your head as you fell down, whispering words of love to you..."

           Over and over, I could hear the words in my head.  I couldn't bear to hear them.  Don't love me!  I have betrayed you so greatly!  But the words played over and over again in my head.  I felt so low that it was painful to hear of His love.  But my Lord was persistent and soon the song was all I could think of.  After a while, I drifted off to sleep.

          That next morning, I immediately listened to the song to get it out of my head. These were the words:

           "So, you've fallen in sin. You crawl through your skin with guilt and shame.  How could anyone love you, you wretched one?  You think you're alone, but there's something you should know.  I saw Jesus holding your head as you fell down, whispering words of love to you.  I saw Jesus holding you head as you fell down, whispering words of love to you.  You may have fallen, but you can't fall from his arms and his love.
            "So, you've fallen in sin and you can't find a friend who'll stand up for you.  How could anyone love you, you wretched one?  You think you're alone, but there's something you should know.  I saw Jesus holding your head as you fell down, whispering words of love to you.  I saw Jesus holding you head as you fell down, whispering words of love to you.  You may have fallen, but you can't fall from his arms and his love.
           "I will not judge you my friend. I may fall down there again myself one day.  I will not judge you my friend.  'Cause you may have fallen, but you must get up.  Confess your sins, let the Lord pick you up.  You may have fallen, but you must get up, 'cause you've fallen in sin, but you can't fall from His arms and His love."

           Today as my mom and I were in the car, this song came on my CD player and I was able to share the history of this song with my mom as we listened to it.  It was a very special moment.  I cannot ever express what it means to know that I have such a mother with whom I can share the specific details of this story and feel completely safe and loved.  This is, for me, a moment of Divine Grace.  Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Up In Arms

Today at work, someone was fired.   He had it coming.  All summer he had been slipping out back and taking a smoke break on the clock.  Smoking on the clock is not allowed and he knows that.  He was frequently reminded of it, by notices on the employee boards, in meetings, etc.  He broke the rule so frequently that I secretly nicknamed him "Smokey".

I didn't really like Smokey very much.  He wasn't a bad guy, just an immature guy.  He went out of his way to prove how good he was at getting wasted, at saying stupid things, and making fun of his sister.  I didn't dislike him, though.  He was just there.  Someone with whom I worked.  Someone who was harmless.  He was only a year younger than me, but, in many ways, he was still just a kid.

Lots of coworkers were really put out with his behavior at work.  They were tired of being left to finish his work.  I was too.  We were all hoping that the managers would crack down on him and the two other guys at work who are almost always slackers.  So, today, when Smokey was fired, I wasn't surprised, or even upset.

What did surprise me is that I wasn't glad either.  You see, Smokey's sister works with us and a lot of his friends.  When he was fired, they were all clearly distressed.  His sister started crying.  They were angry with the managers.  And in a way, I understood why. 

After all, the managers at my work are extremely inconsistent.  They only crack down on someone once in a blue moon.  They pick favorites.  They let some get away with rule-breaking and are completely intolerant with others.  They clock out early, while there is still work to be done, then criticize employees who stay late to finish for "riding the clock".   They ignore people's requests off, mess up the menus, and periodically disappear right during the middle of service, when they're supposed to be seating dining guests.  In short, the manager's frequently fail to do their jobs.

How can someone support the decisions of managers that are hypocritical and inconsistent in regards to ensuring the staff members do their assigned work?

I want the managers to crack down on the slackers.  I want them to step up to the plate and do their job as managers.  I want the work environment to improve where I work.  Not only for myself, but also for those of my coworkers who are not likely to move on to a new work place until the distant future.   I'm still sorry, though, that this process will involve people losing their jobs.  I'm sorry that family members and friends will suffer for such changes.  I'm sorry too that Smokey didn't wise up and that other coworkers are not likely to in the future.

Smokey liked his job.  He complained a great deal, especially because he was at work so often.  He worked two different jobs, so he was able to pick up a great many hours.  He needed the job.  He lost it.  He was fired in front of his friends and his family.  There are no two ways about it, whether he deserved it or not, that's rough.

So I learned a lesson today.  Things are never as simple as they seem.  If people are involved, it's rarely clean cut or damage free.  So, from now on, I'm going to consider problems much more carefully.  Also, I'm going to start praying regularly for all those without jobs and also remember to thank God that I have a job.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This One's For the Girls

I hate shopping.  I always have.  I have been blessed with one of those figures that just isn't in style.  Ever.  That is not to say that finding nice, well-fitting clothes is impossible, but it's extremely difficult and discouraging.

I have many friends, both male and female, who love to shop.  Others, like me, find it to be a very inconvenient task.  Some days, I can spend more than five hours going from store to store, searching through countless racks of clothing, and only have one shirt to show for it.  That can be so frustrating and is nearly always accompanied by feelings of self-doubt, insecurities, and an overwhelming desire to crawl under a rock and hide. 

On top of that, I've occasionally had some unpleasant run-ins with extremely insulting sales persons.  Once I was at a small boutique in town, where the floor sales assistant curtly informed me that, "We don't carry clothes in your size."   Needless to say, that left me feeling pretty low.

So, what's the point of all this?  I have fount a delightful solution to women of all shapes and sizes!  Whether you love or hate shopping this site is the site for you.  The site I'm talking about is  On this website, you set up a free account, type in your measurements, and then have full access to a personal shop filled exclusively with clothes that are suited to your shape and exact size. 

Already I have ordered three pieces from this site and with each one I have received numerous compliments on the outfits.  Each one was a perfect fit.  AND as an added bonus MyShape not only has multiple promotional sales, it also has a special section for clothes which are already on sale.  Basically this site is great and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a fast, convenient, and relatively inexpensive way to purchase clothing.  So, there you go.  Enjoy!

P.S. With MyShape, I'm in danger of liking shopping.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

I'm very patriotic.  I love America.  Liberty and Justice under God are really awesome!

I know that we haven't always done such a great job of fulfilling what our Founding Fathers were trying to achieve, especially lately, but there is still something really special about living in America.  In my field of study(International Studies) a lot of America bashing goes on.  Sometimes it's so bad that I wonder if my classmates remember that they are, in fact, Americans too.  Yet, when it comes down to it, they can't really say that there is another place that comes as close to being what America tries to be as we do.

Reading the writings of our Founding Fathers(i.e. the Federalist and Anti-federalist papers, the Declaration of Independence, etc.) is really inspiring to me.  After watching the John Adams mini-series starring Paul Giamatti, I was ready to become a politician.  I get all choked up when the national anthem is sung at events.

This country is so beautiful and so blessed.  I just want to take this moment to realize all we have and not let it go to waste.

Here are just a few of the things I really love about America:

- There is a representation of at least half of the worlds ethnicities to be found in America.
- Hamburgers
- Hollywood (although it disappoints me a lot, there's some good stuff there)
-The American Dream
- Country Music
- Broadway
- Free Speech
- Freedom of Religion
- Louisiana
- California

What are your favorite things about America/being American?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What Makes You Happy?

If you could do anything you wanted today, what would it be?  I don't mean if you were all-powerful.  I'm talking about if the schedule was completely open and money wasn't an object what would you do?

If you could choose any career, which would you choose?

If you could spend the week with any person or group of person, who would you choose?

Do you know what you want?  Do you know what you're good at?  Do you know who you love?  Do you know who loves you?  Do you know how you like to spend your time?  Do you make the decisions in your life or do you let others decide for you?  Do you believe in yourself?  Do you believe in others?  What makes you happy?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Some days, I wake up in an odd mood.  I don't want to be alone, I'm restless, I have trouble focusing on one thought process for very long, and I just want to do anything but what I'm supposed to do(i.e. work, cleaning, running errands, etc.).  On those days, I just want to blow everything off and just do something fun. 

As I can't actually do that, I end up procrastinating instead.  Essentially, that it what I'm doing now.  I don't want to clean my room and get ready for work, so instead, I'm writing a blog post about moodiness. 

I know that I'm not the only one in the world who experiences such days.  Actually, I'm pretty confident that this is a regular occurrence in the human condition.  So what can we do to combat such moods?  I've got to go to work.  If I want to keep my job, then work is pretty much unavoidable.   My room has needed to be straightened up for a good week now, so I really do have to get on it.  It stresses my mom out when the room stays messy and I personally am trying to lick the habit of letting it get messy in the first place.  So, the cleaning, too, must be done.

The picture of the little pouty girl perfectly illustrates my reaction to these inevitable elements of my day.   Unfortunately, in such cases as these, resistance really is futile and will probably only make things worse.  So, pouting aside, I need to snap to it. 

My solution: prayer, family, and song.

I'm at home for the summer, with my wonderful family constantly at hand.   I shall make use of this by hurrying to clean up before work so as to have time with them before I leave.   I went to Mass today and I'll probably run by the chapel after work.  That will definitely help me push through the mood.  Finally,  I bought a new song on iTunes and am now listening to some fun tunes while I blog/clean.  Win!

Anyway, that's my three step solution to pushing through moodiness.  It probably doesn't work for everyone, but it usually works for me.  If anyone has additional suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them!  Either way, I have to go clean now! ^_^

Have a good day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back to Work

Well, folks, here goes.  I'm about to head out for my first day back at my summer job.  I can't say that I'm truly thrilled, but I'm not about to cry either.  The thing is, I woke up this morning with a pretty bad headache, which was not remotely helped by the ibuprofen that I took for it, and when my family and I were saying the Tuesday rosary with our next door neighbors, I had a headache related epiphany.

Today we meditated on the sorrowful mysteries, as we do every Tuesday.  As we were praying I realized that my headaches can be my own personal crown of thorns.  It is not a new idea by any means, but still one that really helped me not mind the headache.

After the rosary, I went up to my room to get ready for work and it occurred to me that I ought not to limit myself to offering up physical headaches.  I can offer up the metaphorical ones as well!  So here I go!  I'm off to work and hopefully, through my little crowns of thorns, to win a martyr's crown as well. 

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dream, when you're feeling blue...

Before I begin this post, feast your eyes on this:
Do not such places inspire you to dream?

Lately I have been feeling especially "day-dreamy", not in the way of imagining that I'm someone else, but in the way of feeling as if I could do something really wonderful.  I feel a little bit unstoppable.  I feel a little bit as if I can be one of those quirky characters in movies.  The fearless ones, who do crazy but harmless things just for the heck of it and totally change someone's life. 

I haven't really figured out how I'm going to accomplish this dramatic heroism, but look out, because I'm sure going to try.

P.S. I have removed all of my short story posts until such a time as I can post the whole thing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Disappointment

Sometimes we just get our hopes up.  Maybe not in a big way, but it happens, right?  Even though there's a part of us that keeps saying, "Don't hope.  It's not going to happen to you" there's always that other part that says, "but what if it does?  What would that be like?"  Hope is great.  It's what dreams are often made of.

Some people aren't afraid to dream big.  They are confident that what they want is out there and they are capable of achieving it.  I admire those people a lot.  They are going to be the movers and shakers of this world.  They are not afraid of their own shortcomings.  They are brave.

I'm not brave.  Or at least, I'm not that sort of brave.  The truth is, the thought of succeeding scares me just as much as the thought of failing, maybe more.

A few months ago, I applied for a study abroad program to China.  I didn't get in.  For some reason, though, I knew that I wouldn't.  Even as I filled out the application, I kept thinking to myself, They're not going to choose me.  There just nothing about me that sticks out on paper.

Similarly, tonight I had a call back audition for the lead in a show.  There were seventeen girls who got called back for that part.  As soon as I saw how many other girls were being considered for the part, I knew that I would not get it.  I didn't get in the show.

Now, I'm not psychologist, so I can't really say how much this, "It's not going to be me" attitude is acting like a self-fulfilling prophecy.   I can, however say that I have become comfortable with not making it.  That's probably not a good thing.

This cozy relationship with not making it was largely developed as a defense mechanism.  Most people don't like to feel disappointment.  More importantly, most people don't like others to witness their disappointment.  We often wonder to ourselves, What if I don't make it? Then all my hoping and dreaming will be for nothing.  Or worse, what if I do get it?  What if I make it and the reality is way worse than I imagined it would be?

I'm not really trying to say that people should just throw themselves wholeheartedly into every dream.  I guess I'm just trying to say that disappointment happens.  That's okay.  It's not a horrible thing to feel disappointed or to let those close to you know about it.  Just remember to let yourself dream, at least sometimes.  Dare to dream.

P.S. Don't you just love this picture?  It's the cutest interpretation of disappointment ever!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Proverbs for Friends

The semester is almost over and my friends and I are about to face a great many changes.  Some people are graduating.   Others are just moving into different apartments.  Some are planning to go far away.  Others will be left to find a way to have fun at the same old place, while it's missing a bunch of its regulars.

Change is tough.   It's true.  I know that I reflect on that a great deal on this blog, but that is because it's very true, especially for me.  I feel incredibly blessed to have the friends that I do and I know that friendships like this are few and far between.  I am doubly fortunate because I know that these changes do not mean the end of these friendships.

That being said, I'd still like to take moment to reflect on some things that I've learned from my friends in the last few years.

- No matter how many times someone tells you that they like you and want to be your friend, if you don't go out on a limb and take them at their word, then you will never believe them or see the truth.

- Lots of people get grumpy when they're hungry or stressed.

- Often, trying to fix things makes it worse.  Sometimes all you can do is admit that you don't know what someone needs and just them know that you're there to do whatever they need that you can do.

- Forgiveness is essential to any friendships.

- Assumptions are the Devil.

- If you're not a good secret keeper, it's probably better that you prevent people from telling you secrets.

- If you're worried that something you've done might have upset a friend, ask him or her about it yourself.  Don't wait for him or her to get the convoluted "telephone" version from someone else.

- If you want to know something, ask a person who is directly involved.  A lot can get lost in translation, when third parties are involved.

- Hugs, smiles, and compliments can carry someone through the roughest day, or enrich them on their best.

- Pray for each other.

- Treat each other with compassion, love, and mercy,

- If a friend asks you how your doing, don't hold out on them.  It is not weakness to lean on others.

My dearest friends,  you know who you are, you taught me these little lessons.  Thanks for sticking with me as I learn and re-learn them! 


Friday, April 2, 2010

Divine Mercy

Today is the first day of the Divine Mercy Novena. Saying this novena can bring a plenary indulgence.  The Catholic Encyclopedia on Indulgences can be found here.   A podcast of the novena as well as other information and prayers associated with Divine Mercy can be found here.   Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God is LOVE!

Fact: God loves us.  "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3,  "We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19,  "My unfailing love for you will not be shaken. Nor my covenant of peace be removed. Says the Lord, who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54.10 

Fact: God has a plan for us.   "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:28-30;34

Fact: If you are meant to be married, then God has someone who is created just for you.  "she was destined for you from eternity." Tobit 6:17

So what's the point of all this? We should have no anxiety about the future.  God has a plan for us.  There should never be a point where we feel as if we're running out of time for anything.  If it is meant to happen, and we do our very best, then it will happen. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Trust Him.  He will take care of you. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Vacation from Life

Life is hard.   It's a big shock, I know.  Sometimes, doing your best, just isn't good enough.  What then?  My solution in the past has always been to run away.  You know?  I'd like to take a vacation from life.  It sounds really nice.  The problem is, it doesn't work.

Running away has generally proven to be an extremely ineffective method for dealing with the difficulties of life.  When one runs away from problems they just continue to build up until there is one insurmountable obstacle.  So, no running away this time.  I'm just going to push on through. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One step forward, two steps back

No matter how many times I learn lessons about myself, my mistakes, and what I need to work on, I always seem to forget them completely in such a short time.  For example, I have learned and relearned the lesson that Christ loves me and His love makes me good enough, insofar as I continue to repent and turn to Him in trust and humility.  Still, I always end up returning to this mistaken idea that I have to fix everything for everyone and that I must/should be perfect.  I am so tired of trying to get everything right.  First of all, I'm bad at it.  Second, it's exhausting.  In some way, it's as if I'm trying to be God.  Not in the good way, like becoming more Christlike, but in the way that I refuse to accept human frailty in myself.  I frequently attempt to reject my fallen human nature.  I don't like that it's a part of me.

I once watch an episode of Fr. Brown (a Chesterton character who solves mysteries) and in it there was a man who committed suicide.  He was a very religious man, but he had made a religion out of happiness.  If you were good, in his belief, then you were always happy, you always had it together.  The only sin you need ever avoid is drinking any form of alcohol.   Fr. Brown remarks something to the effect of, "Satan himself could not have devised a more miserable punishment".  Eternal happiness, when it is forced is not a good thing.  God does not intend for us to live a false existence, constantly pretending that our lives and our very selves are without difficulty or imperfections.  When one makes a religion out of happiness, one never allows for the possibilities of grief, anxiety, loneliness, frustration, anger, or any other natural response to difficult situations.   Consequently, one expects everyone else to press on and pretend that everything is okay, when really they are not.  Of course one doesn't view it in those terms.  Rather, one is more likely to view is as "fixing" things.  People shouldn't have conflict, frustrations, etc.  This makes negative emotion into some kind of sin.

Thankfully, I have not gone so far as to do all that, but I do feel that to some extent I am guilty of this, especially when dealing with myself.  I do not allow myself to make mistakes.  This becomes especially problematic when I am faced with the reality that I mess up quite frequently.   I am become overly concerned with getting it right for the first time and carry the guilt of my unsuccess around with me for years.  As soon as I realize that I have miss-stepped I am overwhelmed by a sense of regret and guilt that sometimes doesn't go away, even after the issue is resolved.  Even worse, sometimes I may not have actually even miss-stepped, but I still feel horribly guilty.  I feel guilty when someone misunderstands what I said,  I feel guilty when someone misunderstands my motive, I feel guilty when someone expects something of me that I can't give, I feel guilty if my friends have a conflict that I cannot help them resolve, I feel guilty if my efforts to help them go awry, and I even feel guilty for the negative opinions that some people hold of me.

This is NOT okay. 

So, I'm going to try to let go of it.   I don't really have a plan, because my plans usually fall through (which makes me feel even more guilty), but I'm basically going to try to find ways to accept my faults.  Not to embrace them and stop working on them, but accepting them as something that I will be likely struggling with for the rest of my life.  I am going to work on believing that it's okay for me to mess up, even if my mistakes and humanness cause people to be annoyed with or even dislike me.  Obviously I should try avoid offending others, but once I've done the best I can, I am going to try my best to accept whatever comes.

I am going to try to accept that in spite of these faults and perhaps even with them, I am in my own way, lovable.  I am going to try to accept that even though I will never by worthy by my own merit, Christ loves me.  I am going to try to stop worrying so much about what people will think of me.  I am going to try to do all of this without disrupting the lives of others too significantly. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One Step at a Time

Okay, so if you're wondering what the heck this image has to do with the title, the theme here is life.  It has multiple stages.  It needs joy and music.  It needs love.  It's made up of little moments.  Do you see where I am going with this?   Maybe?

Life is short, or that's what everyone says.  But, sometimes it seems as if life just trickles along.  For me, it has always been that the things I want to happen seem to take forever to come and the things that are happening now, even those which I am glad for, flash by so quickly.

Time is very frustrating because it doesn't ever seem to be on my side.  As soon as I get settled in a given place, the time comes for me to move on.  Maybe this is a trouble that is exclusive to me.  Maybe I just have more trouble adjusting than most people.  Regardless, this little conundrum has caused me a good bit of frustration.

My mood right now is not frustrated, rather it is pensive.  I frequent that particular mood quite a lot. 

I'm thinking a good bit about big things.  I'm thinking about time(obviously), change, fear, ethics, wisdom, love, patience, self-knowledge, God, emotions, responsibility, prudence, and many other things.  I'm trying to grow.  I want this to be a growing year for me.

I want to know myself better.  I want to love God better.  I want to have more self discipline.  I want to be a better friend.  I want to start sticking up for myself.  I want to be kinder.  I want to be tough(but a very specific kind of tough).  I want to be wise.  I want to trust others and God much much more.

This is the year, folks.  This is the month.  This is the week.  This is the day.  This is the moment. 

The change starts now.  Today, I am going to be successful.  I will not be stopped by myself or anyone else.  I am determined to be the best that I can be.  I am determined to learn that my best is good enough, even when others disagree.  I don't want to rely so much on my feelings any more.

I want to be sure that it is truly the God of Consolations that I love and not the consolations of God.

And for this moment, I will succeed!