Soon to be a Classic (and some Links)!

May 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

My little sister Genevieve (age 10) is writing a story.  She’s actually got about 40 pages down on the computer, which impressed me.  She was kind enough to let me read some of her great novel.  You’re welcome.

1. She describes a boy as having blonde hair with black highlights. 
2.  Her character tells the boy she has a crush on: “I wish I had the guts to say I like you but my guts don’t come easily.” 
3. Two young couples are sitting on the front porch of a cabin when they hear screams and crashing from the woods.  The boys make the girls hide in the cabin as they explain: “We’re men, we can handle this!”   I laughed out loud.

She’s displaying a knack for a good turn of phrase, and her storytelling is certainly brisk (although that may have more to do with her poor grasp on punctuation, rather than pure talent).

Today’s random item:  I was checking out a headline or two on Yahoo.com the other day and I saw this poll on the sidebar:

PRIMETIME ASKS!
What is your favorite character named after a car?
  • Bentley – “Bachelorette”
  • Ford Fairlane – “Adventures of Ford Fairlane”
  • Mercedes – “License to Drive”
  • Portia – “Julius Caesar”

I guess they are going with people phonetically named after cars???  Or are they just that dumb?  I don’t know, it made me laugh, though!

On to some links:

From Zenit, Pope Benedict speaks again about faith and reason and how, why yes, they can and should be compatible!  “Contemporary culture tries to confine the sphere of reason to empirical sciences, so that religion is relegated to the level of opinion, Benedict XVI is warning.”

Short little messages like this one are why I love our Holy Father: “Dear young people,” he said, “I hope you will be able to recognize, in the midst of the many voices of this world, the voice of Christ, who continues to address his invitation to the heart of the one who knows how to listen. Be generous in following him. Do not be afraid to put your energies and your enthusiasm at the service of his Gospel.”  After giving up music for all of Lent, I hope I learned how to listen at least a little bit. 

You may not have known, but my Confirmation saint is St. Gianna Molla.  And now, her daughter is coming to the USA!   “The youngest daughter of St. Gianna Molla will join Cardinal Raymond L. Burke in addressing a Kansas City conference on Catholic end-of-life care on July 23.  Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla’s mother was declared a saint in 2004 by the Catholic Church and is known for her heroism in choosing a risky operation to save her daughter’s life when she was two months pregnant. The conference marks the first visit to the U.S. for St. Gianna’s daughter.”

I found this article from CNA about the chief exorcist in Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, very interesting.  Read the whole thing! 
“Not surprisingly, ‘Jesus Christ’ is the name Fr. Amorth most often calls upon to expel demons. But he also turns to saintly men and women for their heavenly assistance. Interestingly, he said that in recent years one man – Blessed Pope John Paul II – has proved to be a particularly powerful intercessor. 
“I have asked the demon more than once, ‘Why are you so scared of John Paul II…  [A] response that he gave me, ‘because he pulled so many young people from my hands.’ There are so many young people who, thanks to John Paul II, were converted. Perhaps some were already Christian but not practicing, but then with John Paul II they came back to the practice. ‘He pulled so many young people out of my hands.’”

That’s all for now. 🙂 

“Hey, your napkin’s on fire.”

May 24, 2011 § 3 Comments

                 It was autumn of 2005 and I, like every other NHL fan, just wanted to forget about the horrible lockout season of 2004-05 and get back to the ice.  The Penguins had won the draft lottery and taken Sidney Crosby as the inevitable first pick.  He was extremely young (18!) and extremely talented.  I was a year older than him but this kid already had been drafted #1 overall, signed a mega million sponsorship deal with Reebok, and been called the next Wayne Gretzky.  I was in love.  Frankly, I was more in love with the way he could handle a puck than anything else.  I read as many articles about him as I could, looked up videos on Youtube, and waited anxiously for the NHL season to start.  Everyone’s got a movie star crush.  I had a Sidney Crosby crush. 

                I walked into the Café on a warm, breezy night near the end of September.  I was there with Jill to pick up my paycheck, have some dinner, and debate with Jeff about training camp and the upcoming hockey season.  I greeted the bartender, Angie, and then slung my purse onto one of the tables by the bar.  It was right then that I noticed there were men wearing suits at the tables next to us.  A number of suits.  A rather intimidating amount of suits worn by rather intimidating broad-shouldered men who looked ages older than me.  And one suited boy who looked barely out of high school, but with an incredibly familiar face.

                I sat down at the table before my legs gave out and looked away from those familiar features.  Brown eyes, curly hair, broad shoulders…  Sidney Crosby was eating dinner at the table directly across from me.  At the Café.  My Café!  It was mind-boggling.  This was the place I came to work and talk to people about how he was going to save Pittsburgh and bring us back the Stanley Cup.  This was the restaurant where I had watched the draft lottery and then the draft itself.  Where I waited tables and made money for my mundane life in the middle of a mundane city where nothing but mundane things ever happened to me.  It wasn’t where I waltzed in on payday and sat down five feet away from a guy whose poster hung on my bedroom wall (I am not ashamed to admit this, as he is an attractive young man, and anyway the poster is one of him playing hockey in gross sweaty hockey gear).  Sidney Crosby!  I dared to take another glance at the table and almost dropped the menu Angie was handing me.  Oh hi, Mario Lemieux, I thought.  Hey, Mark Recchi, John LeClair.  Sergei Gonchar and Andre Roy.  Hi, you random three guys I don’t recognize but who look famous.

                I was star-struck, I admit it.  I’m not telling this story so I can play off being all cool and indifferent.  Who would believe me?  It’s not like Sidney came in there to eat every day.  I was in the presence of two of my heroes and a handful of some of the finest players to lace up skates and play my beloved sport.  But I had some pride too.  I kept my composure and only glanced at Sidney every now and then, very subtly.  Jill and I ordered food and had a normal conversation.  We chatted with Jeff and watched some news on the television above the bar.  The funny thing is: I don’t remember ever thinking about getting an autograph from Sid or Mario or any of them.  I didn’t even want to talk to them; I was petrified at the thought.  I just wanted to sit there and bask in the knowledge that Sidney Crosby had eaten at my restaurant and that we’d made eye contact over my plate of penne pasta with vodka sauce once when I happened to lift my head right at the exact moment he lifted his and I was 100% sure he smiled at me.  I smiled back.         

                    Midway through the meal that I was too nervous to eat, things became interesting.  Jill had to step outside to take a phone call.  Left alone at the table, I immediately pulled out my cell and began to text my brother the incredible news.  Angie came up to the table and asked if I was done with my pasta as she lifted the plate away.  I nodded, not even bothering to look up from my phone.  I was in the middle of texting him a sentence ending in a hundred exclamation points when I smelled something weird.  I sniffed.  Definitely weird.  It was almost like paper burning.  It smelled smoky and unpleasant.  I finally pulled my gaze away from my text, only to drop my phone on the ground in utter horror.  My paper napkin had somehow fallen into the tea light candle that sat on my table.  It was now blazing up merrily and smoke was rising. 

“Hey, your napkin’s on fire.”  Sidney Crosby’s concerned voice was like a whip on my nerves. 

“I know!”  I gasped out, and then dumped my glass of water (ice, lemon, straw, and all) onto the burning paper.  Water ran and ice scattered everywhere.  I jumped up to avoid the stream that was now trickling onto the floor. 

“It’s still smoking.  Here, put more water on it.”  I looked up and almost died.  Sidney was standing right next to me, holding out his own glass of water.  I took it with a shaking hand and cautiously poured some onto the rest of the napkin.  The flames finally died and I was left holding Sid’s water glass, staring down at the disgusting residue of soggy, burned napkin.  Acrid smoke still hung in the air. 

“Thank you.”  I turned to him, unable to think of anything else to say.  “I’m really sorry.”  I apologized for no reason.  He smiled down at me, his brown eyes sparkling but kind.  “No problem.”

Now I suppose if this story were a movie, or my imagination, then now is the part where Sidney and I have a special moment.  You know, one of those cheesy movie scenes where a boy and a girl stare into each other’s eyes as sparks (literally!) fly all around them.  They realize there’s a certain ‘something’ in the air between them and the romance begins.

But this wasn’t a movie.  It was my boring life in boring old Wilkes-Barre and I had to turn away from Sidney to wipe up the dripping water from the floor.  Angie brought over a roll of paper towels and helped me pull the chairs away from the table.  Sid sat back down and I could see the other guys smiling at each other.  As I stood back up, clutching a handful of sopping wet paper towels, Andre Roy flashed me a grin.  “Did you do that on purpose to get attention?”

My poor nerves were shattered at that point.  I was embarrassed and felt very stupid.  “I would never do that!” I flared up.  “I honestly don’t know how it fell in the candle.”

He smiled at me in a nicer way.  “I’m just teasing you.  You looked so shocked when it happened.”

I took a deep breath and let it out again before replying ruefully.  “I can only imagine.”  He laughed with me and I felt better.  Mario Lemieux said something about candles, but to this day, I honestly don’t remember what he said because Sidney was smiling at me again and offering me one of the paper napkins stacked on his table. 

Again, if this were a movie or some cheesy fan fiction, I guess now would be the scene where I regain my composure and strike up a conversation with Sidney.  We’d laugh and chat with the rest of the guys and things would be fun and cool and exciting and we’d exchange numbers and by the time you’d read about this on my blog, Sid and I’d be married.  But it’s not a movie.  We did chat and it was fun because he’s a nice guy.  And Jill came back from outside and had the whole sordid story explained to her, and I ordered dessert and actually ate it, and someone got Sidney another glass of water.  And I’ve never met him since that night.  It wasn’t a movie and I’ve no need to exaggerate anything for effect.  The best part of this story is the truth.  Just a little story of the night I met Sidney Crosby.

I don’t have the poster anymore but I’ve still got the crush.

The Sun is a Flower

May 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

I miss my garden.  I want dirt on my hands, sunshine on my back.  It hasn’t stopped raining for five days.  I haven’t seen the sun since Sunday.  Technically, it hasn’t rained continuously, but it feels like it.  It reminds me of a short story by Ray Bradbury I had to read while in school.  Humans had moved to another planet in the solar system, maybe Mars or Venus?  I don’t remember, but whatever planet it was, it rained non-stop.  Honestly, it never stopped raining except for one hour every seven years on this planet.  I have no idea why.  The story was set in a classroom, and all the little children could not remember ever seeing the sun before.  They were children of rain and storm, accustomed to the unceasing susurration of running water.  But it was almost time.  The seventh year was here and the hour was approaching.  The sun was making its way through the gloomy rain.  There was one little girl though, who had been born on Earth.  She remembered the sun.  Living on the planet was killing her because she couldn’t see the sun.  But the hour was coming.  She was in the classroom and she wrote a poem about the event.  It was two lines and I’ve never forgotten them.  She wrote:

I think the sun is a flower
That blooms for just one hour.

The other children knew she was different; she had knowledge they couldn’t comprehend.  She was dying without the sun.  And because they were jealous and spiteful, or maybe just little kids, they locked her in a closet.  And when the time came, they ran outside and heard the vast silence of a dry sky and felt the weight of sunlight in their bones.  For an hour they played.  Then when the sun had been swirled away into mist and the tidal waves of rain were pounding the planet again, they went back to their classroom and let the little girl out of the closet.

New Car!

May 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

I suppose the long drag of time in between posts is a good glimpse into my mind.  Always lots going on, but somehow I can’t quite pin it all down.  For instance, I have a really humorous post all written up, just waiting to be posted, but I wanted to draw pictures for it and I just can’t.  I open Paint up and sit there, staring blankly at the little paintbrush, waiting for inspiration. 

Blogging blues.  I think I have them.

It’s probably because the Vatican neglected, through what I’m certain was careless oversight (completely inexcusable, really), to invite me to the first ever Vatican Bloggers Networking Day.  Lots of awesome Catholic bloggers got to go to Rome for the weekend and participate in a blogging convention.  My invitation was apparently mislaid along with my inspiration.  One could almost wonder: am I uninspired because I was uninvited?  Or am I uninvited because I’ve been uninspired? 

The questions I ponder.

Here is something!  I got a new car!  YAY!  It is a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.  I was nearing the end of my Subaru lease and in order to avoid the lease end fees and the (slight) over-mileage penalty, I traded in my Impreza early and got the Cruze.  It worked out very well because the trade-in value (or the buyout… I don’t know; there were lots of terms being thrown around that I barely understood.  Thank God for Danny.  Seriously, he is amazingly smart with car deals) on the Subaru was really good so I didn’t end up owing any money.  My payment is going to stay the same, but now I’ll have 15,000 miles a year instead of 12, which is great and should definitely eliminate any over-mileage issues.  The technology in the Cruze is very interesting.  It has Bluetooth synch, so I can use that instead of my cell phone.  I can just speak the name or number I want to call and it synchs with my phone and makes the call using my car speakers.  Hands-free!  Hooray for safety!  I get a 3 month free trial of XM Radio, which I am looking forward to using.  I’m thinking that I might purchase it when the free trial is over, because apparently there is an NHL channel and I can listen to almost all NHL games on XM.  I never knew that!!  That would be amazing, because I am in my car so much.  Also, the car has a USB port so I can plug my phone in and listen to any and all music on my phone through the car speakers.  This thing is a beast, basically.  It is black with a metallic glint.  Here are stock pictures.  I will take some photos of my own car when the sun finally decides to emerge from whatever cave it’s been hiding in.  (Disclaimer: I may never get around to taking those photos because I’ve never been the kind of person who cares enough about cars to take photos of them.)

The interior of mine is black, not gray.

 

Lots of exciting things happening this summer: 4 weddings, a few bridal showers, one or two baby showers… Jul and Cathy and of course, LEO will be visiting next week!!  Well, technically, Cathy will be returning.  I can’t wait to see Leo again! 

That’s all I’ve got for now.   Here is a photo of my three little ratties! 

L-R: Willie, Merv, Robert

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