Thursday, April 23, 2009

Okay I should have specified this at the outset...

... but bananas are carb-o-crazy, so that's out. But I shall follow the potassium lead. Keep the tips coming! I feel a cramp coming on RIGHT NOW!

OUCH!!

AUGHH hit me with your home remedies, readers, I am getting LEG CRAMPS at night! I was ever-so rudely awakened this morning with my right calf frozen in place. YOW it's painful. I jumped out of bed and tried to put my foot down flat on the floor, which took HOURS, not really- only seconds, but LONG seconds. I've been noticing little minor cramps in my legs and feet lately but this was the mother of all cramps.
I remember that my Dad had a spell of bad leg cramps, and he was told to take Quinine. Apparently, though, that's not prescribed anymore because it causes some irregular heartbeats. I wouldn't be surprised if that cramp might have caused an irregular heartbeat or two. Maybe I'll just have to start drinking Gin and Tonics.
So, let me know if you have any great cures for leg cramps, and I will try them all out and get back to you! Thanks in advance from my poor little calf muscles!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

low-carbing

The two best things about the low-carb diet are bleu cheese and bacon. I have gotten to be pretty adept at frying up bacon, and I've returned to my pioneering roots in cooking lots of things in just a touch of bacon grease. I know, I Know! It's bad for the arteries, but sheesh, it's soooooo good. Last week I steamed some broccoli and then sauteed it in said grease, and let me tell you: 1) it was AWESOME, and B)I lost a pound. Outside of Catholic educator's conferences, it has been really easy to do, this diet. And, I'm not going NO-carb, just LOW carb. The weird thing is, I eat WAY more vegetables now that I'm on this diet than I ever did before.
Summer brings ice cream and fruit, and temptation, and the hardest part of eating this way is the dismal beer situation... so who knows how long I'll keep this up? But so far, so good. Sooooo good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

notes from the loft- and an update

I'm writing from the choir loft above the chapel in the BC STM... below, a Franciscan is being given feedback on a homily he just gave- I guess I'm listening in on some kind of preaching seminar. It's neat up here, what little natural light is filtered through the stained glass windows and then through the latticework that separates the loft from the chapel ceiling.
I'm meeting with my advisor in a few minutes, I always worry that she thinks I'm a wicked drip. I have no evidence that she does, but somehow I always fear that I'll get in there and she'll say "you know, you are a pain in the ass. Why don't you pipe down in class once in a while?" I'll let you know if she says that this time.
The thing about grad school is that I feel, still, pretty out-of-practice, which I think is reasonable considering my last college class was 19 years ago. But also, back then, I wasn't a very conscientious student. So while I'm learning what I'm learning, I'm also kind of learning how to be a student.
I've decided to tell my advisor that I really only want to take wonderful classes from here on in. This semester I have one class that I love love love, and one that I'm just trying to get through. I don't want any more of those get-through classes, if that's at all possible. Is that too much to ask? We'll see, I guess. One thing I do remember from college is that I do much better in classes that I enjoy- so there's method to my madness.
** Update: she didn't seem like she thought I was a drip, so that's good news, and she even laughed at my jokes! And she gave me a whole list of must-have professors and courses to take before I graduate. She was VERY helpful. Now I just have to pick my courses for the Fall and hope for the best!

Monday, April 20, 2009

To California and back

After the whirlwind of Triduum and Easter, we had a quick break and then were off to California for the NCEA/NPCD conference in Anaheim. Our own religious education guru was to be presented with a national award, so it only followed that we should be there to witness the excitement!
We stayed at the Hilton and it was absolutely lovely. Only steps away from the convention center and a quick cab ride away from Downtown Disney. The beds were luscious and the pillows.... perfect. Great shower, great shampoo, and heck- a STARBUCKS in the lobby! Who could ask for anything more?
The conference was firmly okay, with most of the workshops directed at catholic school leaders. The parish ones were a little shallow, but I think most convention workshops are designed to be breathtaking to people who are newer to the field. I remember how amazing and mind-blowing the things I heard at conferences were when I heard them for the first time- so I know those lessons need to keep on being taught. I can go back to BC for my mind-blowing needs.
We went to a round-table workshop on Adolescent Catechesis and really enjoyed the discussion there- it was great to rub elbows with some of the big names in youth ministry and catechesis in general. The banquet to honor our DRE was lovely, and we had a lot of fun celebrating her.
As for California-ing, we got to do some walking and eating out, and visited Downtown Disney, where we ate out in a little sidewalk bar next to a big space heater.
Oh right, did I mention it was COLD out there? Okay, not Massachusetts cold, but colder than we thought it would be. In the low 60's. I had to buy a pashmina!
But all in all the trip was a great one, and we were happy to be there. We're happy to be home, too- and ready to go back to work at a bit lower level of intensity from Easter week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Triduum and Easter tales

It's Easter Monday and even with some good rest yesterday, I still feel like I need some recovery from Holy Week, so while I should be cleaning the kitchen and packing for the trip and calling FIOS to complain about my missing email account, I am sitting on my beeehind watching Hee Haw.
It was the best Holy Week ever, in my humble opinion. Everything was well planned out and presented thoughtfully and with care. The crowds were bigger this year than last, so much so that we kept running out of worship aids. I loved every minute of it. After Mass an older Italian lady approached me and said "I have one remark." Oh? "The young girl serving Communion was wearing TONGS on her feet!" I said "oh yes, yes she was." She said "That's not appropriate." I said "oh, she's right over there, why don't you go and tell her?" This was not the response she was expecting. "Oh nooo, I don't want to embarrass her. You tell her." I said "ohh nooo, you tell her, she's here a lot, do tell her next time you see her. You definitely should." People have funny ideas about teenagers, including this urge to criticize them from afar. I had a pastor once who approached me (because I was the YM) to complain that the group of kids five feet away from him in the narthex were too loud. I said "go over there and tell them!" Sometimes people just need to be reminded to treat teenagers like the fellow parishioners that they are.
On Good Friday I sat on the tabernacle side of the church, so as to greet at that door and to get good pictures of the cantors who CHANTED the Passion. I've never heard it chanted before and it was really striking. I was noticing how many people genuflected before the tabernacle, which was empty, of course, and the doors were wide open. Catholic habits, you know? Silly, really, to bow to an empty tabernacle, but over and over people came in and did so. I love that our faith becomes so ingrained in us that we develop a kind of muscle memory.
On Holy Saturday, the Vigil was beautiful, and a comedy of errors- there were just a bunch of mistakes made, but our priests and deacon took everything in stride and we all had a lot of fun- who'd have thunk that the vigil could be so fun? At the same time, it was beautiful and spirit-filled.
I broke our tradition of sleeping in and lazing all day on Easter to go in for the 9:00AM Mass. We had a baptism planned, and the deacon had planned a big setting with the children's choir, where they sang throughout the baptism. The family of the little girl was amazed at the care and lengths we went to for their little girl (who was a 5 year old, sweet angelic little girl!) and it really felt like a great example of hospitality at work in evangelization. I knew from speaking with the Dad and Godparents in the preparation for the day that they were feeling called back to faith by the recent loss of the child's grandmother, and wanting their daughter to have a religion- and the look on the father's face throughout the Mass was one of amazement- it was clearly not how he remembered church! Everything went right in the preparation with this family and I hope it continues for them.
After the vigil, one of our priests said to me "you were smiling through the whole Mass! Why? Is it because it's Easter?" Well, yes. It's partly because I find so many things funny, like the ladies seated in front of us who were saying the prayers along with the ministers, straight out of her Magnificat. Co-presiding, if you will. Funny. But also, I was just feeling the joy of being a part of this community. On Sunday morning, I was amazed again by how many people I knew in the pews around me, by how much fun it is to be part of a community like this, by the palpable presence of the Spirit in this place.
Ahh, Easter is here, Christ is risen. Indeed, He is risen!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

FIOS rant...

Over at the parish blog I'm praising God and loving the season and community, but here, I seethe.
Our friend PJ got FIOS a while back, and constantly brags about how great it is. So we finally got around to ordering it this week at our house. The day after it was installed, our email accounts (which were already through Verizon) stopped working. I tried a couple of times to contact Verizon/Fios, but didn't have the time to wade through the endless choices and muzak. (I know, I even said "AGENT" to get through to a human, which worked, except that the human I got to put me back on hold, more muzak.
Today Scott called and got through to a snotty "service" person who told us that actually, they don't really help people who use Macs (Really? Cause the tech who came out to install didn't mention that they weren't so hot on Macs when he saw ours in our house).
So, although when I try to access my email account through Verizon's website, and it says my account is suspended, she said it is not. What do I do to get my email now? Well, she didn't know, she saw both email accounts and so the problem must be with us.
Comcast, we miss you!!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What does the FIOS button do?!?!?

Yesterday the FIOS guy came, and set us up in the living room, bedroom and kitchen. Now we have the craziest array of channels, including BYU TV and local channels from weird places, like Dedham. I spent my time in the morning trying to cram in as many of the DVR'ed shows I had on the Comcast box before I had to run off to work.
Here's a weird thing: in the morning, I put on my twitter page that we were getting FIOS. By the time I logged on again (around 4PM) I had a new follower, a Verizon FIOS guy (his twitter page says he's a policy blogger)! Very Big Brother, don't you think?
FIOS is as bitchen as they say, lots of channels, lots of fun features, and 40.00 cheaper than what we were paying Comcast, but now begins the adjustment period. I realized this morning that I need to program the new DVR box with all the shows (and there were a LOT) that we used to DVR before... why didn't I write a list? I have been able to figure out how to set recordings and series recordings, but haven't slogged through the guide enough to get them all back.
I had the old remote memorized and could flip around through it with ease, knew my stuff, knew what to do. I guess there's some kind of book around here somewhere to teach me how to use it, but I don't look forward to that... well, I guess I'll adjust.
Maybe I'm not that great at facing change...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

Scenes from Spring on the Hill

Today is almost a day off for Scott and me, and we had gleefully planned to go out in the yard and uncover the gardens. They're just starting to peek out from under the leaves that we use as mulch (read: don't rake) and I am ITCHING to get out there and play. But it's been raining all day long, and so we're stuck in the house. Too bad it's raining.
Tomorrow it's supposed to clear, some, hopefully just enough for us to get out there for a bit and see what we can find. In the meantime, I did a little cooking and thought I'd share a peek at the view from in here.
It's the last Lenten Friday at home and that means NO meat- next week it's no meat, too, and also it's a lot of nothing else, as we'll be fasting. But I couldn't look another egg in the yolk and wasn't in the mood for tuna, so I pulled some Maine shrimp out of the freezer and stir-fried it! YUM!
Before:


















After:














(It was even prettier in real life, and delicious.)
Our Grape Tomato plant has ONE BLOSSOM, and promises of more:





We planted this from seed last Summer but it didn't get very far, so I brought it in for the Winter- it's growing in leaps and bounds and I'm thrilled with the blossom!










And finally, my sister Cate gave me this mystery bulb (because I forget what it is) a couple of Christmases ago, and it didn't bloom- but a big wide, long leaf shot out of it. I let it hibernate for the Winter this year and just brought it back out into the sun about a month ago, and look how it's grown!