Some Catholic links!

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Such a wonderful and true post from Marc at BadCatholic that I had to repost!  He talks about the strangeness of receiving the Eucharist.  How we become ‘addicted’ to it.  It’s so true.  I have learned from the past year or so, when I’ve been trying to get to Mass at least twice a week, that the more you receive the Eucharist, the more you crave it!  He says:

“Augustine’s whole idea can be restated for the modern world as, “I was content breathing in oxygen, but you set my lungs on fire with your love, and now I can barely stand breathing anything else!  I was doing fine living, making money, eating and drinking, having sex and watching TV, but you rudely made “being fine” ridiculously banal, and now I want this very agitation, this desire, this hunger that pushes me towards you.” So yes, we’re Eucharistic addicts, not only because the Eucharist elevates us to new spiritual heights, but also because it makes life without the Eucharist unthinkable.”

Read it all here.

A very cool little anecdote from Father Z: “Pope Benedict, the lark, and the raven“.

Here is something truly terrible, which shows the hypocrisy of a culture that brandishes their buzzwords of tolerance and equality and yet cannot even give it to others.  For shame.

To end on a better note, here is Pope Benedict’s homily from the Mass celebrated for his 60th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.  It looks long, but it’s an easy read.  Do take it all in!  Quote:

“No longer servants, but friends”: this saying contains within itself the entire programme of a priestly life. What is friendship? Idem velle, idem nolle – wanting the same things, rejecting the same things: this was how it was expressed in antiquity. Friendship is a communion of thinking and willing. The Lord says the same thing to us most insistently: “I know my own and my own know me” (Jn 10:14). The Shepherd calls his own by name (cf. Jn 10:3). He knows me by name. I am not just some nameless being in the infinity of the universe. He knows me personally. Do I know him?”

 

 St. Wenceslaus, pray for us!

2011 NHL Entry Draft

June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Boston Bruins are the 2011 Stanley Cup champions.

The smiles, the suits, the cell phones.  The last minute trade announcements from the floor.  The camera flashes, the baby-faces, baseball hats, jersey pull-over move.  Bustling excitement, brisk business attitudes, Gary Bettman’s eyes (oh wait NO MAKE IT STOP).   I love the NHL Entry Draft.  I’ve watched it almost every year for 10 years.  I’ve seen marquee players get chosen high, watched no-name low rounders earn a spot in the big league, and gasped at blockbuster trades and horrible signings.  Draft Day has been my summer highlight every year in a decade with only one Stanley Cup and no Calder Cups.  It’s a panacea for summertime blues, when I’d pay a Zamboni driver off just to bring me a chunk of ice.  Or when I’m so hockey desperate I find the news that the Nashville Predators filed for arbitration with Shea Weber incredibly interesting.  I compulsively click on this third entry, and have time to be irrationally irritated at the second:

Draft Day takes care of my anger that Google automatically assumes I’d care about such things.  Draft Day holds memories for me.

At 15 years old,  Jaci and I were sitting in her basement, drinking Barq’s and orange soda (respectively), watching a (very) young Colby Armstrong tugging a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey over his head and grinning at the cameras.  In the 4th round, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Slovakian named Tomas Surovy also pulled on the Penguins sweater.  At 16, I fell in love with goaltending.  In soccer, hockey, when I played, or when I was at a game, goaltending was my position and I was delighted to see a goalie (Kari Lehtonen) go 2nd overall to Atlanta.  I followed Lehtonen throughout the years and was really disappointed when injuries put him on the sidelines.  He seems to be improving with the Stars now, though, and I’ll have my eye on him next season.  Maybe the guys who read my blog will think I’m being too sentimental over athletes and I should just care how many goals they score for me in a fantasy league, but I’m a normal girl.  I am sentimental.

In 2003’s draft, Marc-Andre Fleury went 1st overall to my Pittsburgh Penguins.  I still can’t decide what was more fun: trying to decipher and imitate Fleury’s heavily-accented English, or the way ‘Cape Breton Screaming Eagles’ just rolled off the tongue.  2004 was the year of Ovechkin/Malkin, as incendiary debates raged far and wide between Penguins and Capitals fans.  Stats were invoked as if they were crystal balls, fists were shaken in faces, and many juvenile nicknames were created.  Ah yes, 2004 was a fun draft.

Do we even need to return to the 2005 NHL Entry Draft?  The horrific numbness in your nerves after an entire season without hockey.  The involuntary clenching of your hands that remains with you to this day whenever anyone mentions the intials CBA.  And the agony of the Draft Lottery: snakes in your belly, muttered prayers to any deity you’d ever heard of, the offer of your firstborn child.  Just let us have it, please.  Take our jersey card collection, take our cushioned seats at the arena and our VIP parking pass and our wonderful huggable mascot, take it all.  Just give us Crosby.*  

Then:

 Handel’s Messiah on Easter morning.
The final notes of your national anthem during the Olympics.
That moment in The Return of the King when Aragorn and all of Gondor bow to the hobbits.

        Lest I become overwrought with emotion, let us not forget that good ol’ US of A had 4 players taken in the top ten in the 2005 draft.  Yay for America!  In 2006’s draft, my mother and I ate dinner at the Cafe and watched Jordan Staal pull the Penguins jersey on.  I had a chicken sandwich.  That’s about all I remember, sorry, Jordy.

Speaking of America, we made history in 2007 when the top two players taken were both from the USA.  Patrick Kane and James Van Riemsdyk went 1 and 2 respectively that year.  Pittsburgh didn’t pick until the 4th round in 2008 and I’m afraid to say I skipped it.  In 2009, I had a small mental crisis as boys who looked young enough to be my baby brothers paraded onscreen.  Who were these youngsters, with their broad shoulders and incongruous lack of facial hair?  Just how old were they??  How old was I??  I drank a few beers at a bar during that draft class, just to reassure myself that I could.  What was up with the names in 2010’s draft?  You could tell a new decade had begun somewhere and I missed it.  Pittsburgh drafted a Beau.  Taylor and Tyler went 1 and 2.  There was a Connor, a Cam, and of course Brandon and Brock.  Dalton, Jarred, Evante, Cody.  There was even a Jaden in that class!  Children of the 90s, all present and accounted for, sir.

Now here on June 24th of 2011, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, and Gabriel Landeskog are suited up and practicing their manly hugs.  Zdeno Chara is still trying to convince people that Foxwoods Casino comped his team that $100,000 bottle of champagne.  The Winnipeg Jets become a reality once again.  Dan Bylsma is all “NBD, folks” with his Jack Adams award, but the whole world is aware of what a BD he really is.  And the Flyers are quickly becoming hockey’s version of that crazy ex-boyfriend you have who updates his Facebook status all the time about his new plans for the future and how great he will do without you, but you know the truth.  And he knows you know.

Bring on the Draft!
*Admit it already: You were thinking it, if you were a smart hockey follower, and not suckered into that fake, sneering attitude of disdain worn by all the Capitals fans.  As if they have ANYTHING to be disdainful about when photos like this are floating around the internet:

Are there WORDS written on the inside thighs of those jeans!?? I don't want to know who gets to read them...

Farmers’ Market

June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

The Wilkes-Barre Farmers’ Market begins today!  And it’s raining.  Of course. 

Enough for a stall at the Market?

Ah well, we struggle on.  The Market is one of my favorite parts of working in downtown WB.   Being a gardener myself, I love meandering through the produce stalls, picking out fresh fruits.  (I leave the veggie-buying up to my mother.)  Last year, I bought a bag of plums for two dollars and had them with my lunch every day for a week.  They were delicious.  I’ve had strawberries, peaches, blueberries, etc.  There are plenty of other options at the Market too.  There’s a woman who makes all different kinds of soups and gazpacho.  There are a few stands with baked goods like a variety of breads, pies, and cookies.  I bought a pumpkin pie last year and that was the spark behind my bet with Danny that I couldn’t eat a whole pumpkin pie in two hours.  I didn’t.  On case you’re wondering.  I THINK I could have, but I didn’t.  I decided it was better to savor my pie instead of cramming it all in like a glutton.  I ate half of it before I reached that decision, though.  Maybe the first half had something to do with saving the second half.  It was a delicious pie, though!  Highly recommend it. 

There are also lots of (inevitable, yet always delicious) sausage and pepper stands, potato pancake stands, chicken finger and french fry stands, pierogies, popcorn, cheesesteaks, gyros, pizza (lots and lots of pizza), lemonade, soda, and ice cream stands.  There is one stall completely filled with candy.  Last year, I bought a huge bag of Swedish fish.  I don’t know what makes Swedish fish so good, but sign me up for honorary citizenship!  If I could cast my line into a lake and pull out one of those on a hook, I’d settle down there forever.  (Despite the fact that reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo terrified me so horribly.  Seriously, that book is why I bought Mace.) 

There is always a stand at the Market that sells sunflowers!  Big, beautiful, blooming sunflowers.  I bought a few and arranged them at Danny’s house last summer.  I think they’re still on the kitchen table.  Not blooming anymore though.  Have I ever mentioned the traumatic sunflower experience I had one summer when I was about 14 or 15 years old?  I had some sunflower seeds and I planted them.  Three, to be precise.  All three of them sprouted but only one lived to be taller than two inches.  This one healthy sunflower was my newly-into-gardening pride and joy.  I watered it every day, and checked on it so often I’m surprised it didn’t die just from the attention.  When it was about 8 inches off the ground, I received a tragic blow.  My Dad thought it was a weed and weed-whacked it.  I was eating a raspberry danish at the kitchen table when it happened.  I still remember that danish.  It crumbled to dust in my mouth when I looked out the kitchen window and realized what had been done.  Irrepairable damage.  I cried over that poor sunflower.  I bawled.  I didn’t hold it together like I did a few years later when Dad accidentally mowed over my strawberry plants.  (He doesn’t have a green thumb.  Also, how we’re still speaking is a mystery to me, when I re-read these past few sentences.)  In gardening though, as in life, you replant and grow again after every setback.  I just take my tractor another round, and pull the plow across the ground, and send up another prayer- oh wait.  Sorry.  That’s a Jason Aldean song.  I don’t even have a tractor.

So come to the Farmers’ Market every Thursday on Public Square if you’re around!  Support the local farms!  See ya there.

Me and the Peril of Plants, the Scourge of Seedlings, the Whacker of NOT-Weeds: my loving Father

Erica & Bryan’s Wedding 6/18/11

June 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

My cousin Erica was married over the weekend!  Even though I remember when Erica and I were little enough to run around the beach playground together (wait, we would still do that), it’s not too weird to believe she is a wedded woman, after having watched my younger sister get married last year.  It makes me laugh, though, that they’re both married before me.  Jul always did have to beat me in everything, and with Erica, even though I was born a year before her, people always thought she was older than me.  Ah well, what can you do?  Erica and Bryan deserve all good things and I wish and pray accordingly for them!  🙂  Here are some more pictures:

Danny and I at the rehearsal dinner. Eyes!!!

 

Gen and I

Favorite cousin Kev! 😉

The mashed potato bar: choose your potato, scoop it into a martini glass, and fix it with the many varieties of toppings in bowls. GENIUS.

 

LEO LIONNI

 

Juliana and Daniel 🙂

The happy couple and I

 

Cousins dancing LOL

 

When Jul gets tired of him, apparently he's marrying me!

 

Last but definitely not least: dessert!

Wedding Photos

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

In the words of the inimitable Percival Blakeney, more to come!

The Great Bite Shark (SCF 2011)

June 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

You know that famous scene from the hockey movie Miracle?  Where Herb Brooks has finally grown sick and tired of his whiny snots of players and he skates them until they puke?  And they realize something:  it’s not the name on the back of the jersey that counts.  It’s the name on the front.  If I had to guess, I’d say Alex Burrows took that to heart last night.  If I were thinking of ways to emphasize the shark on the front of my jersey, biting my opponents is the first thing that comes to mind!

That being said, if you watched any of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night (Vancouver won 1-0 against Boston), or saw highlights, you will have heard about this.  The Biting Incident of 2011.  I saw it.  I read about it.  I also heard the two players involved (Patrice Bergeron and the aforementioned Alex Burrows) being interviewed on it.  It went something like this (condensed for your benefit): 

Patrice: “He bit me!  He bit my finger!”
Alex: “He stuck it in my mouth!”
Patrice: “I mean, come on!”
Meanwhile, somewhere in an old dive bar filled with smoke and memories, Brendan Shanahan turns off his TV and heaves a sigh.  Time to get to work.

Biting’s pretty ridiculous, you know.  I know it’s the heat of the moment and they’re scrumming behind the net and Patrice certainly isn’t being careful with his hand placement, but still.  It’s not like biting is an involuntary reflex.  If someone shoved a sweaty, smelly hockey gloved finger in my mouth (without my prior approval), I would seriously hope my first reaction is to spit it out, not bite down.  Agree?  Disagree?  Is biting a better way of getting a finger removed from your mouth?  

From the other side though: seriously, Patrice?  He bit you through a padded hockey glove.  This isn’t Gollum biting off Frodo’s finger as they battled precariously on the edge of Mount Doom.  No one held your bloody severed finger aloft and cackled deliriously.  And no one is going to write a song about you called “9 Fingered Patrice”.  You just sit down and shut up until you’ve traversed the plains of Emyn Muil.  Agree?  Disagree?  Did Patrice suffer more than Frodo?

And the award for the hockey post with the greatest (and most) biting/mouth/teeth puns in it goes to CBC.ca!!  Read and thank me in the comments.

This game was amazing to watch.  Only one goal scored, but I’ve always been a fan of the goaltender showdown.  Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo dueled the night away from opposite ends of the ice and it was oh-so-pretty to see.  To me, it doesn’t get much better than seeing a stacked pads save or a flashing glove catch.  One thing I did notice: Thomas plays so far up in his crease!  Wow.  He reminded me of Fleury for a few minutes there.  I think that if Boston wants to win this series, Thomas is going to have to continue that kind of play.  Boston can’t skate or score with the Canucks but if they can shut them down, then we’ll have a series worth watching.  Skating and scoring may sound like two, um, rather large components of a hockey game, but the saying is ‘defense wins championships’ for a reason.  Keep throwing Chara in front of Luongo all night long.  Slow down the Sedins.  Don’t let Ryan Kesler pass the puck.  Bite Burrows back.  I guess this makes it seem like I am rooting for Boston, but I don’t really have a particular allegiance.  I think I’d like to see Tim Thomas win, mainly because he’s from Flint, MI, and I know people from that area.  I can’t really think of any other reason to be honest.  All I know is that Game 1 was a great display of hockey and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series plays out. 

Oh look!  NHL.com agrees with me.

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