Sunday, August 31, 2008

dear old golden rule days (two new posts)

And now, 21 years later, I'm about to have yet another first day of school! I went to the orientation day at BC last week. It was inspiring and optimistic, this day, and I left feeling pretty ready for the new challenge. I still had to pepper my friend (a recent BC grad...grad) with the questions I didn't dare ask at the orientation, but I did feel like I had a fairly good grip on things when I was done that day.
I sat through the pleasantries; welcome speeches, introductions of the staff and faculty, the pomp and excitement about this brand-new school (it's a combination of Weston Jesuit and BC's IREPM). Then they grouped us up and let us meet with a seasoned student, to give us tips and tricks about the grad student experience, I guess. After another round of welcomes and introductions, we met in small groups with our advisors. I'm excited about mine, she's been really helpful so far, and seems to give me credit for being a grown-up professional-type person.
After all that, I went to the main campus to pick up my parking pass ($230!!!) and ID, and bought my books ($115!). I watched the tour groups snake around the beautiful campus and thought how overwhelming this place must be for a first-year undergrad upon first arrival. So much going on, so much to take care of, and all that at an age where you still care so much about looking cool.
School starts Tuesday and I have all my notebooks and sharp pencils ready. I'll let you know as soon as I start to feel smarter!

drama geeks, coat people, stoners, mathletes

Quiz time! When you were in high school, what clique were you in?
Last night we caught a little bit of Definitely Not The Opera on the radio and heard a pretty interesting story. A woman reporting from her own 20th high school reunion was exploring the myths about high school, and interviewing her former classmates. It was a great show overall, but what struck me was this bit:
She was talking about cliques (which in Canada, apparently, they pronounce like "cleeks")- she said that as she remembered herself in high school, she wasn't part of a clique. I nodded as I listened, because I don't think I was in any particular clique, either- I remember being part of a bunch of different groups- the drama crowd, the cheerleaders, the music people, the ultra-popular (just kidding about that last one).
The interesting thing was, she interviewed her classmates and found that none of them thought they had been in a clique. None of them! They all considered themselves "floaters" with friends of all kinds. Get that? ALL of them! But when she asked them to tell her what clique they remembered her being in, they all could tell her.
So, what's the reality? Are there no actual cliques in high school? Did we all just label each other and each other's groups of friends?
I think I missed some good opportunities at this last reunion, what with being pregnant and self-conscious the whole night. I wasn't as bold as I wish I'd been, to seek out the people who I should have connected with, to find out who my old friends had become. I hope at my 30th, I can get a better look at my past.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Take and Eat

I just stopped by the chapel in a doomed attempt to visit with the Lawd. Adoration and/or prayer before the Tabernacle have never been my Spiritual Thing. I am too antsy and fidgety and too easily distracted. But that's not the real reason that I have never taken to Adoration.
Every time I sit in front of a tabernacle, my eyes settle on the flame in the candle that is always nearby. I know the flame is not meant to be a representation of Jesus, and the object of my adoration is meant to be the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist within the tabernacle. But to me, the messages that both items send are so contrary. Jesus is better personified to me through the light-giving, ever-burning, warmth-emitting, living flame. To have the True Presence locked into a strong, heavy, dark box on a platform. The flame says, to me, GO! DO SOMETHING! Where the message I hear about Jesus from the tabernacle is "Sit and stare at the box I'm in." I've said that for me, adoration is like a starving person to sit and stare at a sandwich to receive nourishment. Eucharist, the way I understand it, is a verb- food for the journey, for the mission at hand. Every Sunday, we become tabernacles, and there's no reason for one tabernacle to sit and meditate in front of another one.
I do know that for some people, Adoration is inspiring and wonderful and life-changing. I don't believe that everyone should stop adoring Jesus in the tabernacle or the monstrance. We all have our special devotions that we are called to. Mine is not seated position.. well, not for long!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Who do I say that I am? (two new posts)

Tonight before Mass a woman came over and took me by the arm and asked to talk to me. She said she reads my columns in the bulletin and said "and I think you have a heart for God." I said "oh thank you!" but she stopped and said "well, do you? Do you have a heart for God Margo?"
I was kind of taken aback by this questioning. I mean, I do love God, and am a Christian, and a Catholic, and all that... but to say "Oh yeah! I have a heart for God!" Well, it felt sort of like bragging.
Soon after graduating from college, I moved here to MA and soon after that, I moved into a house with some musicians. Whenever I would meet their friends, they'd ask "are you a musician?" I never knew how to answer. I loved music, love to sing, had studied and performed music in college, (hey I was lead singer in a rock and roll band!) but it just seemed to impressive to be considered A Musician.
And it felt very much the same when I was confronted with today's question. "Do you have a heart for God?" I guess, if she's asking what I think she's asking, then the answer is a proud "yes." I guess the challenge is more to my decision to commit to this title. Yes, I have a heart for God and that will effect the choices I make tomorrow, and every day. Just like in the Gospel today, I am asked not to report on my state of being, but to decide who I am, and how I will respond to the fact that I know that Jesus is the Christ.

I almost wrote, "synchronized swilling" but I DID get to see some of that this weekend.

Awww, the Olympics are over. I loved just about every minute. I soaked up as much gymnastics/swimming/volleyball/diving that I could, skipped the soccer pretty much and ignored the basketball. I tried watching water polo but I couldn't stop worrying about the poor horses.
(Sorry, my last chance to use that joke for another 4 years!)
I won't miss the sound of a whistle, which interrupted water polo every 2 seconds or so, and I won't miss that gymnastics commentator who said that everything was "big." (This is a BIG routine for her. BIG move there! Ohh that's a BIG mistake. Big Big BIG!) I won't miss the way they make you so nervous, watching... and I won't miss the McCain ads that peppered the broadcasts. But other than that I am awfully sad it's over. I will miss getting to know about the athletes, and will miss learning about new sports. I feel like I didn't get to see many of the non-mainstream sports- I saw table tennis and badminton, but didn't see any synchronized swimming or... what are they called, rhythmic gymnastics? That's kind of a bummer. Next time, I guess.
Now we move on to the spectacle of the political conventions. I hope they're peaceful.
But first... the closing ceremonies... a little weird, no? I'm all for creativity but it felt kind of Willy Wonka-ish for the first part. I loved watching the athletes have fun and smile smile smile, and was pleased to know that Jimmy Paige is still kicking it old school. (still kicking, really. Good to know.) The climbing tower of red and silver people was very cool. My sister had just given up on the ceremonies being neat-o and signed off AIM to go to bed when that part of the festivities began, so I hope she didn't miss it.
Ah, the olympics. Thanks for a good 17 days of distraction from reality! See you in four!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

off to school

So my nephews are going off to college this week and next, and I can feel their worries and nerves and excitement through the air all the way from Maine to Massachusetts. I remember how I felt, leaving home to go off to college, the biggest life- change I had experienced up till then. But more than that, I remember walking with young people through this time in their lives as a Youth Minister. The waiting and anxiety of waiting for that envelope to come, tears and disappointment of being rejected or wait-listed by a college, the joy and relief of having been accepted, the fears that their choice of schools would turn out to be a wrong choice... and then, the time coming to actually GO to college.
I don't know how many young people I've seen off to college in my career, but there have been a lot, and one thing that always strikes me is how, like coins dropping only into the slot meant for them, kids end up in the Right Place. So many kids' second choice, "safety" schools, have ended up being just where they should have been all along. If there is ever a time in a young person's life when I've seen the Holy Spirit at work, it's been in choosing colleges. It isn't necessarily an easy transition, or a an instant joy, but somehow it always ends up that kids land where they're meant to.
So I feel confident and excited for the boys even as their confidence may be starting to waver. I know that God has plans for them and knows where they should be. I hope they love college from the moment they step on campus- and I hope they grow closer to God while they're farther away from home.

It's all good.

Is this saying making a comeback?

I went to Staples last week to buy a memory card for my new camera (did I mention how AWESOME my new camera is?), and the young girl who waited on me at the checkout counter bagged the card for me. I said "Oh, I don't need a bag, sorry, I should have said that" and she smiled warmly at me and said "It's all good!"
I have to admit that her response did cheer me, not that I was blue to begin with but her smile and laid back reply made me smile. She was right, it was all good!
Since then I think three people have said the same expression to me. Is it a cool quip these days? If it is, or if it isn't, I guess, either way, it's all... right with me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

itchy itchy itchy, scratch scratch scratch...

I've decided that itching is the worst feeling. I used to think it was having to go to the bathroom desperately but the thing with that is, you can go to the bathroom and alleviate the problem (and feel the BEST feeling in the world... well, it's right up there).
I guess I've done pretty well over the past few years to avoid mosquito bites but this year I'm riddled with them. Add to that other itches of other types, including the nasty itchy eyes that have been plaguing me all day (and making me look weird), and I have been a very uncomfortable girl as of late. (By the way we deduced that the Yoda eyes and the blotchy red face I now have are a result of a sample size of lotion I tried this week.)
You know, the thing about many itches is that you mustn't scratch them, because that just makes them itch more! That is just evil, and proof that the devil exists. I recently decided that instead of a last meal, the night before I die, I will spend it rubbing my eyes because that just feels so good, but if you have to look okay the next day then you can't indulge yourself. You must just let it itch. Agony. I can't imagine how people with psoriasis get out of bed in the morning. God bless Benadryl and all the other itch-fighters out there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thank you for my new camera!!

It is AWESOME!!!!!
(click on the image to see the freckles on the whiskers of the bee! It's got THAT much detail!!)

Now We Are Four-ty

Today I woke up looking like Yoda. Is this what it's like to be 40?
My eyes are completely swollen and puffy. And on new license picture day!

Oh well. Other than that, 40's pretty good so far. The party was a sure blast, and I felt so proud and lucky (blessed) to have such an amazing assortment of friends and family. The guests ranged from parents in-laws and siblings and nephews to Youth Ministry friends to some of my oldest (meaning long-time) friends to two of my "kids" (now 21) from my first parish. To me it felt like a great resume, a list of proud achievements to brag about. Look at all these wonderful people in my life! And there are even more than this- not all the people I love could be there.
PJ made us all Margo-ritas, and I heard him and Kristen saying "why haven't we always called them that?" which made me laugh. I gave tours of our sweet home and felt proud, and watched my husband shine and felt proud of that too.
Oh did I mention that at 4:00, the exact start time of the party, a very very dark cloud loomed over us, and fat raindrops fell, and seriously the loudest clap of thunder ever recorded rang out above our house? I was inside giving a tour but my family was out under the metal-frame tent in the driveway, under the giant tree. It didn't look good for us but soon after, it cleared and the guests started to turn up. It reminded me of our very rainy (read: monsoon) wedding day, another day that makes me so happy to remember.
So thank you dear friends for being here, for being there! If my life has been this good for 39 years, I can't wait to see what 40+ brings.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's my birthday!

Well not really, actually. But today is my birthday party! I am not the kid who had a big birthday event party every year as a kid. Birthdays were family events; dinner, cake, presents. My brother Chris' birthday is 2 days before mine (that is, TODAY). One year my Mom and sister Nancy worked to throw us a big birthday party to which we could invite 2 or 3 friends each. It was a BLAST, with a really cool scavenger hunt that had us running all over our neighborhood from the cemetery to the library to the memorial building. I remember that Chris' team beat ours because we just could not find what turned out to be the largest tombstone in the cemetery... Looked everywhere. Oh well, it was a really fun day.
So today is the big 4-0 party, and Scott's been working his patoot off to clean up the yard. There's a little tent out there and lights and tiki torches and all. I'm really excited (despite the calls for HAIL) because so many of my friends and family members will be here. For a humble/lovable character like myself (and Underdog) it's a weird sensation being the subject of a big party. I keep saying "is it too greedy? will people think I'm a self-centered jerk?" Silly, I know- I never went to someone's birthday party thinking "How DARE THEY???"
So, it's just a matter of getting myself spit-shined, excited (no prob. there) and ready to go. Happy Birthday to me! (and Chris!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

kinda fluey

I bravely dressed and went in to work today briefly, just long enough to get everything set for Baptisms, and then hit the road and ultimately, the couch, again. I am not sick to my stomach, but I don't feel like eating, which is HIGHLY unusual for me. I feel, just... kinda... wonky. Sluggish, tired, energy-free. I looked up Tetanus shot reaction and this, I think, is what they mean when they say "mild flu-like symptoms." I also read that you can expect possible "fussiness" and "Crying nonstop for 3 hours or more." Luckily neither of those have happened... yet.
My shooter (the woman who gave me the shot, that is, who I, weirdly, THANKED afterward) said that if my injection site got hot or red, I should call the on-call, they would probably prescribe me some antibiotics. And, you know, my site is indeed hot and red... but overall I just don't see calling the doc. about it- any doctors or nurses out there reeling in horror at this picture? Do advise.
PS, it looks worse if you sit back from the screen a bit. There, see?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

40,000 mile checkup (two new posts)

So, yeah, I'm turning 40. I had my physical yesterday (and got the aforementioned Tetanus shot) and for the first time, brought a list of things I wanted to remember to chat with my doctor about. A LIST!! Yikes. There were only 5-6 things on there, so maybe that's not so bad.
But the good news is, I'm in good shape. Well, no- I'm in terrible shape, but I'm healthy overall.
I was pretty excited because our PCP just retired, and transferred us to another practice in the building, and so my physical was supposed to be with a young pip of a thing who treated me for a breathing thang I had back in the Spring. Her name was Dr. Ally, I kid you not. She was, I think, about 13 years old and had a terrificly chic outfit on the day I met her, accented with a pink stethoscope. I know the maxim is to choose a lawyer who's older than you and a doctor who's younger, but really, this was too much.
Anyway, apparently Dr. Ally has moved on and I got to go back to one of the Nurse Practitioners from my old doc's office, and I was quite glad. She's wonderful and didn't make me feel too old or too fat. Now I've got a bunch of follow-up stuff to do- blood test, a trip to see this kind of doc, a trip to see that kind of doc. The older I get, the more doctors I get to visit. And I'm healthy!

It's time again... simple woman's daybook

FOR TODAY 08/09/08...
Outside My Window... what may be a couple hundred crows are cawing and yelling in the high treetops. Crows give me the creeps, and we try to discourage them in our own yard (by the vicious clapping of our hands... tough, we are) but they live somewhere nearby, and every night around 6 they start flocking back and forth and yelling like middle schoolers at a dance.
I am thinking... about the Olympics. I love the Olympics, and although I am not generally a major sports fan, I drink up every bit of whatever is shown on the Olympics. I love the patriotism and spirit and emotion and the thrill of victory, and yes, the agony of defeat. I lounged in front of the tv all day feeling wonky from a tetanus shot, and saw fencing, volleyball, team handball, beach volleyball, swimming, crew, cycling, and badminton. Badminton! Everything is interesting in the Olympics.
I am thankful for... my health, on this day of minor misery- I had to get the tetanus for grad school, and didn't know it would sideline me for (hopefully only) a day. Fortunately it's a good day to stay inside and... yep, watch the Olympics!
From the kitchen... not much! My energy level is near zero. Sorry husband! Last night we got Chinese food to eat while watching the Opening Ceremonies and talked to a real Chinese guy about China!
I am wearing... yeah, my pajamas.
I am creating... a deep divot in my chair cushion. But last week I did a really cool craft project! I made a nifty suncatcher for our porch. I'll try to get a good pic. of it for you to see.
I am going... back to work tomorrow, with a Baptism at 1:00 (well, three Baptisms). But until then, I'm going nowhere fast!
I am reading... Today wasn't a total waste of time, I caught up on Dot's Diary and then read a lot about Bikini Atoll, the site of A-bomb tests by the US after WWII.
I am hoping... to feel better soon, and that it will be sunny and dry next weekend.
I am hearing... those damned crows and Scott hosing something down in the driveway.
Around the house... the gloaming is setting in. Time to turn on the lights inside.
One of my favorite things... Did I mention I love the Olympics?
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Ahhhhh this is my last week before vacation, and that means I'll get a ton of work done. Next Saturday we celebrate my big 4-0... so that means we will have a lot to do around the manse, getting everything set to go.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Our cat Pip waiting patiently for someone to turn on the faucet so she can take a drink.


Friday, August 01, 2008

We Are Fam-Ily...

So, tomorrow we head to Bangor for the Family Reunion. This is my mother's side of the family, and it's an event that most of my siblings avoid at all costs (and it does cost). Each year we are urged to visit with this branch of the family tree either at the Lobster Feed (no, we don't feed lobsters, silly- we feed ON them) or the Christmas party, held also in Bangor, on the day after Christmas. I've been avoiding both events for as many years as I can get away with, and this year we have a wedding the day after Christmas (how cool is that??) so we are compelled to make our appearance.
I have a bad attitude about this side of the family, I admit it. But I think I come by it honestly- my tea-totalling family always felt a bit out of place at the Smith parties, and I think that while we thought they were crass drinkers who mocked us for our virtuousness, they probably thought we were snobs. I was born at an awkward gap in the relative span, too young to be noticed by my older cousins and too old to be interested in our younger cousins. At Thanksgiving, I always ended up hanging out in the room where the men hung out, because their conversations were so much more interesting than the women's, and because they acknowledged my existence so much more than the women did.
In recent years, we've all been turned off by the big water fight that ends each lobster feed- and again the snob/aloof thing has loomed between us and the rest of the clan.
But, you know, maybe I've just gotten into the habit of not liking to go to these things. I mean, hey, I drink now too, and maybe that'll make the lobster feed a whole heck of a lot more fun! Maybe they'll be more interested in me now that I've become so impressive, and have a handsome husband to show off. And the rumor is there's no more water fighting- so, I am going to go into this with an open mind. Maybe I'll make a new/old friend- and if not, I'll take my lobster to where the men hang out, and get my credit for showing. Mom will be happy, either way. That's worth a lotta points!