Simple Times

August 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

On the Sports Front (although I’m playing fast ‘n loose with the term ‘sport’): Softball’s regular season closed with a bang this past week.  A bang of thunder, that is.  Yes, once again Danny’s Offmen team was denied a chance at victory due to inclement weather.  The storm forced the umps to cancel the game, but the Offmen weren’t letting a little thing like driving rain stop them.  They went to the bar anyway and confidently bragged that “not losing = winning”.  All in all, I can’t say I minded that the game was canceled.  If I had to choose between sitting on the team bench in the drizzle and watching the guys slide around in the muck and dust, or sitting cozily inside Brews’ Brothers devouring crispy 40 cent wings, I think I’d pick the wings every time.  Especially when you factor in the bleu cheese and celery.  Now it’s onto the playoffs (everyone makes them), with all the glory, (beer) guts, and bravado that you’d expect to see!
Pirolli Party: On this past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a party at the Pirolli’s home in Mountaintop.  It’s their usual get-together, which they host every year at the time when their son Paul is home on a visit.  (Paul has been in Rome for the past few years at the seminary.)  I just have to say first of all, every time I visit the Pirollis, I’m astonished by how fast the kids are growing.  Given that I used to babysit most of them, it makes me feel a bit old.  The Pirolli’s party is always a day for me to take a step back and remember exactly what I love about living a simpler life.  Sometimes I can get so caught up in the race and the rush of the world, in work and fashion and money worries and appearances.  Here, though, I step back into a simplicity that doesn’t resemble the absence of material things so much as it does the pleasure and clarity of what is sincere.

The best part of the party is the food, although there is no fancy catering, not unless you count the pig-roasting people with their huge iron roaster.  Everyone merely brings a dish with them and there’s always more than enough to go around.  It’s a day to meet up with old friends; to participate in a sack race and an egg toss with a 5 year old and lose because while there’s over two feet of height separating us, there’s not that much difference in our coordination.  For this party, I know to leave my stylized outfits at home and spend the day running around in jeans and sneakers.  My feet get muddy because we always end up kicking the soccer ball around and I don’t care.  Kelli, Bernadine, and Matt coerce me into entering a pie eating contest and I bravely smash my face into the vanilla pudding layers, regardless of mascara and lip gloss and cameras.  There’s no high society standard here, no happy hour cats with spiteful comments and poison-green martinis.  No one at this party air-kisses my cheek and exclaims, while their eyes rake me up and down.  I can clamber onto the rope swing like the children and jump off into nothing; let the wind rush past my face and snarl my hair.  I climb a tree and get sticky sap on my hands; I walk in the woods and feel the air in my lungs when I breathe and the strength in my muscles.  Matt cooks me a hot dog on the grill and burns it black, just the way I like it.  I douse it in ketchup and mustard and eat it slowly because I’m too busy laughing with friends, dancing like a goof, or holding Jeanne’s baby girl, seven months old now.  She gurgles at me and wraps her fat little fingers around my necklace. 

Later, Paul and I sit with his younger sister Maria on the two gliders on the porch and he tells us about his years in Rome.  Darkness is falling as I wrap my arms around my knees and listen to his stories of the seminary, of touring the great basilicas, taking siestas, and hunting octopus in the warm sea.  Of seeing St. Peter’s Square, walking across it in a line with four hundred other men, all of them with one desire in common:  to bring Christ’s Presence to us all, every day.  He’s being sent to Detroit now and I make it clear to him that under no circumstance is he allowed to become a Red Wings fan.  Well, maybe for the purpose of evangelization, I tell him, but nothing less will do. 

I finally leave the party around ten o’clock at night, with more than one plate of desserts on the car seat next to me.  I ran through the day in my head, like mental snapshots, trying to pick out my favorite moments.  I find one thought that stuck out in my mind from the entire day.  I was playing with Abigail, Jeanne’s baby, and talking with my friends.  This is what I want in life, I had thought, as I shifted her baby weight in my arms and gently untangled her fingers from my hair.  Family.  Friends. Sincerity and warmth.

pork sandwich and sides
pork sandwich and sides
my mini-pie

my mini-pie (I was too full for a larger one! Didn't you just see that pork sandwich?)


male alpacas
male alpacas grazing
the rope swing (2009)

the rope swing (photo from 2009's party)

Celibacy: Who Knew?  Because when was the last time you read an article wherein a priest reflects gratefully on 87 years of celibacy??  Quote:  “Sadly, sometimes in developing our relations with our fellow human beings we do so solely under the impulse of self-gratification. In such a case, a major opportunity to develop according to the mind of God is lost. For me, the commitment to life-long celibacy has proved a constant reminder to me of Jesus Christ who came to our world to give of Himself even to suffering death as an act of loving service of me and fellow sinners in ensuring the achieving of eternal salvation for all.”
St. Monica’s Feast Day!  Yes, today is the feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, and a woman to whom I often pray.  Her patience and prayers helped bring her son back to the faith and look where he ended up!  🙂  Here are two pictures of her relics, which are located in the Church of St. Augustine, in Rome. 
St. Monica 2

St. Monica


Kindle Update: Reading the complete set of Father Brown mystery stories by G.K. Chesterton on the Kindle right now.  Very good, and a steal at only $1.49 on Amazon!


Weekend Review

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is a bit of a different style from most of my posts.  Here is a hodge-podge of articles, links, quotes, fashion, and stuff happening in my life.  I am trying to get into a habit of posting more often.  We shall see. 


Gen's JokeFirst off, a joke!!!  This is a joke my 9 year old sister wrote on the family’s dry erase board. (Hint: she meant ‘screw’ when she wrote ‘scroo’.)

It gives a rather accurate (and pointed) summation of how small repairs are usually done in our household.  Sorry, Dad.  You’ve been outed by your youngest. 




This is how some towns in Spain celebrated the recent Feast of the Assumption (August 15).  Look at this amazing statue!  More pics in the link, they are really quite gorgeous, please check them out!


The Holy Father’s address on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Feast of the Assumption:  “Her example of faithful perseverance in doing the will of God and her heavenly reward are a source of courage and hope for all of us.”


Audrey Hepburn Here is a link to a well-written blog post about ‘effortless style’, one that I enjoyed very much.  Fashion… It really is about wearing what you love and making educated choices.  I don’t have the money to follow the step of ‘investing’ she has here, but I understand it.  I also have a few fashion rules of my own, but I think I’ll save them for a separate post.  There’s a lot I could say about fashion, from my own ‘rules’, to my favorites and things I love, and modesty and fashion and even how it relates to grace and class.  That is NOT to say that anyone who doesn’t really enjoy fashion (clothes, make-up, et all) is not classy… just the opposite.  I think it is much, much easier to make the mistake that the more fashionable you look, the cooler you are.  This leads to what I would term (not flatteringly) the ‘Lady Gaga’ effect, where you think that wearing something totally tasteless and ugly is fashionable.  There is a reason we have Couture shows and a reason we have Ready to Wear shows.  I’m digressing, though.  I wanted to save this for a different post!  Sorry!


Although since we were speaking of fashion, here are a few items I’ve drooled over lately.  (I’ve also grabbed at them with greedy hands, only to be solidly rebuffed by the physical separation of a computer screen between us and the mental separation of their luxuriously gigantic price tag and my meager bank account.)

Express Ruffle Skirt

Oh look!  It’s a very simple, yet pretty floral skirt from Express.  And it’s not even that expensive.  Too bad winter is coming here and I can’t justify adding yet another skirt to my closet.  Woe is me!









sultane CLThese shoes.  These pretty, pretty shoes.  They have a tassel.  Do you see the tassel?  It’s so cute, just hanging there, waiting to be all bouncy and perky whenever you walk around town.  That tassel speaks to me, to my soul.  It says, “Yes I am a tassel and therefore not something you normally see on a shoe, but I make you look good.  Nerdy yet cute.  Librarian meets Louboutin.  Love me.  Buy me.”

Oh shoes, I would answer your siren song if only I could!!  I’d wear you and love you and strut confidently around Public Square in you, flashing that red sole to everyone, including the man in the Darth Vader mask who wanders the Square daily.   (Christian Louboutin ‘Sultane’ shoes.  No link included because if there is anyone reading my blog who can afford $700 shoes, I hate you and don’t want you to own them when I can’t.)

Victoria Beckham Dress

Victoria Beckham dress.  If you’d like to visit Bergdorf Goodman and buy me an early Christmas present, but aren’t sure the dress costs enough to really show me how much you care about me, here’s the price link.  I know, I know… I mean way more to you than that lil’ thing.  Still, it is rather pretty… and soft… and simple, yet stunning and would look perfect on me and I definitely have somewhere to wear it (what?) and I think I might have matching shoes (prob not) and I know exactly what color lipstick I’d wear with it and how I’d do my hair, so be a dear and buy it for me, ‘kay? 




Not Fashion Related- Another article I really enjoyed is this one by Bishop Thomas Olmsted (Diocese of Phoenix, AZ) on marriage. Quote: “Is it really all that difficult to fathom that God had a plan for marriage, which He wove into the very fabric of human nature?”   (And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Arizona Republic article (linked in the previous link) for their statement that “Young people just do not share their parents’ hang ups about gay marriage.”  Thank you, Arizona Republic!  As a young person, I was like soo totally worried that I might have a ‘hang-up’ about gay marriage but ever since your ‘editorial’ included this little ‘fact’, I’m worry-free and can sleep through the night again!  You might have consulted me before posting a blanket statement about my beliefs as a young person but you know, it’s okay, I totally understand that you can make completely random remarks and pass them off as truth just because you’re the media.  Actually writing things that are true or representing both sides of a story are probably just ‘hang-ups’ about media that only my parents have.  Because, well, they’re old people.  Ew.)

Oh Look!  Random Facts About My Life:

I’m going to have to start back at the Café next week.  I took the summer off because Samantha came back from college and wanted my shifts.  Now, however, she’s leaving again and it’s back to the salt mines for me.  I’ll probably be there about 2 nights a week.  Hey, it’s cash money, right?  Sigh.  Come visit me.  We had a really good special last night, just a simple chicken dish, but the way it was prepared and the way it tasted… Ah.  It was a bone-in chicken breast, rubbed with roasted garlic powder and grilled, drizzled with homemade pesto, and served with a chilled cucumber and tomato salad.  YUM.

I’m trying to plan a trip to Michigan to visit my sister Juliana.  I’m aiming for the end of September or beginning of October.  And that’ll make her about 5 ½ months pregnant!  Very exciting.  Aunt Rosie has such a nice ring to it!  

I’m taking Pete to Dorney Park on the 28th or 29th so pray for good weather!!  Oh and pray that I don’t die in a horrific roller coaster accident that maims and bloodies my body and causes my funeral to be closed-casket, which is what my (90 year old) boyfriend seems to think will happen. 


Utter Frivolity

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

          I undertook a monumental task last night at home and in the process, made two astounding discoveries.  One made my eyes tear up a little and the other made me smile.  Let me set the scene properly for you:  Me, striding gallantly into my bedroom.  I fling the door open, march straight in, and stop in the center of the room.  I stand very still, as if I’m expecting to be attacked.  My eyes dart from side to side and my shoulders are tensed for action.  Nothing happens though.  Okay honestly I’m just eyeing up the piles of clothing that have accumulated on my bedroom floor.  I won’t let them beat me, though!  I WILL PUT THEM ALL AWAY.

          I did it too.  I folded every single item, straightened out more than one, tossed a few in the hamper, and hung some up in the closet.  And in the middle of all of this boring cleaning, I made my first discovery, a very sad one.  My favorite jeans, the Charlotte Russe ones I’ve had for over 5 years now, are giving up the ghost.  They’re a light demin color and I’ve worn them until they’re soft as spun sugar and torn wide open at the knees.   They have frays in the rear area.  The seams are tearing away from the weight of the pockets and soon if I wear them, you’ll be able to see- ahem, well, anyway demin is not meant to be see-through.  The idea that my Charlotte Russe jeans (I always call them that, even though I own 3 pairs of their jeans) are finally conceding defeat to the strain they’ve endured was enough to make me gasp out loud and sit down abruptly on my bed.  I held them up in front of me with a critical eye.  There’s a fine line, you see, between “Oh I can wear them and just call them artfully frayed.  People will think I’m punk!” and “Oh.  Um yes you can see my underwear through the seams of my jeans and yes they are polka-dotted”.  A fine line, indeed.  But I don’t want to get rid of my Charlotte Russe jeans!!  They hold memories!  I wore these jeans all over the Appalachian Trail, the weekend we hiked 16 miles and I didn’t shower for over 48 hours!  I was wearing them on that fateful day balancing on the river bank with Danny, where I proclaimed loudly that I never fell, then promptly slipped and tumbled down the muddy hill.  For heavens sake, I wore them the night I met Sidney Crosby and the day I went to Penn State and the first time I tried sushi!  My Charlotte Russe jeans simply cannot be dying.  I refused to accept it. 

          A few minutes (or was it days?) later, I had regrouped and was continuing to hang stuff up in my closet when I made my second discovery, something that almost made up for the tragedy of the Charlotte Russe jeans affair.   I found my blue sweater.  I found my favorite blue sweater!!  It had been missing for over two weeks!!  I saw a glimpse of the bright sky-blue color peeking out from underneath several jumbled tanks and t-shirts and I dove for it right away.  I pulled it out of the pile with a triumphant yell and clutched it to my chest.  Somehow that silly sweater had hidden itself in the wrong drawer and then scurried to the very back corner of it!  I scolded the sweater gently for scaring me into thinking I’d lost it and then hung it up in my closet, giving it a loving pat as I did so.  It’s so pretty, my favorite blue sweater.  Soft and warm and the prettiest sky-blue you ever saw.  I love blue clothes.  Bright blue sweaters to warm your cold hands on a windy day in October, or navy blue tank tops that match your white shorts on a hot day at the boardwalk, or even the soft worn blue of cherished denim… like my Charlotte Russe jeans!! 

          Oh darn it now I’m sad again.

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