Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And in the end, it doesn't even matter

This week has been more than a little rough, to say the least.  It was the kind of week that slaps you in the face, punches you in the gut, steals your money,  and runs like hell. It was the kind of week you want to yell at God and your friends and tell them exactly how mad you are and how uncool they are. Don't even let me start on how it makes you feel about the people you have a hard time liking.

At the same time, it was the kind of week that makes you beyond grateful; grateful to have known such a stellar soul, grateful to have friends who will let you yell at them and then spend hours talking to you and drawing you out from your grief, grateful for the kind look from the professor who couldn't help but notice the tears you were desperately trying to hold back as you asked what he'd like for lunch or the father who saw you crying at Mass and put down his sleeping child so that he could reach out and say "Peace be with you", grateful for hugs from coworkers, and kind words from total strangers whose life was also touched by a friend, even though they had never met him.

It was the kind of week that makes you seriously think; about life, and it's unpredictably and fragility, about direction and where to go and what you're doing with your life, about pain and suffering, death, loss, and what really matters. And the truth is, honestly? In the end.... very little matters.

Though I am young, I am not new to grief. I have thought these thoughts before. While I loved my cousin, I did not know my cousin very well, and though this may be selfish, I mourned that I didn't know him, more than I was able to mourn his life. My friend, Kevin, who died in 2009 was a good friend, but we hadn't seen each other in over a year. We kept in touch, and I missed him, and his death shook me, but never quite as much as this week has. Perhaps it is the combination of all of these deaths that has helped make this week so difficult, because when I think of these things, I do not always think of one individually, but often, of the three of them.

Jon was a good friend mine, but he was one of my best friend's closest friend. I would often get frustrated with both of them, because they would rarely do anything separately and Scharf generally got the better deal. I would tease them about their "bromance" and give them a hard time about ditching me. And in end, when he's gone - what does it even matter? The answer is... it REALLY doesn't. Scharf was in Ave before the accident. They had told me that they were gonna chill with some other friends that Friday and wanted me to come. I had Fridays off and was really looking forward to it. Thursday night, I was told that I would have to work Friday. Getting someone to cover a 14 hour shift on Friday is impossible. Weighing that in my mind along with the fact that it was 14 hours which I would otherwise lose, I told them I would have to work and would have to catch up with Scharf on his next trip to FL. That 14 hours? What does it matter? It matters not at all. I could have made it without those hours. And while I couldn't have known that it would be my last chance to ever hang out with Scharf, it still makes you think. I HATE getting my picture taken. As a result, I have no pictures with either of my friends. What does the frizz that I perceive in my hair or the blemish on my skin matter now? It doesn't. Not one bit. (Especially now that I know how to edit pictures better...).

I am lucky to know 3 good men who died, men who showed true characteristics of greatness. It's a great comfort to know that their lives have impacted so many people for the better.

So be sure and kiss your children, call your mom and tell her that love her, drop a note of thanks to a friend, take that picture of you and your loved one even if it's crazy stupid, talk to the sibling(s) you've been avoiding,  smile at the stranger instead of scowling. Let go of the anger (easier said than done. Trust me, I know this), let go of the awkward silences. Find a way to turn those into love before the Things That Really Don't Matter After They're Gone, become the Things I Should Have Done or Said.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Farewell for now

Today is the type of day that a person dreads, the type of day you never want to see: the day when you say your final farewells to a friend and he is laid to rest in his final resting place on earth.

Today is also the first feast day of Blessed Pope John Paul II, a man Jon admired and emulated, which adds even more poignancy to this day. Blessed JPII's motto "Be not afraid" was truly lived out by Jon. He was a guy who was not afraid to swim against the current, or to blaze a new trail. He had just launched the "Pregnant on Campus Initiative" with the goal of getting resources and help to parenting college students. (See him in action here and here ) It was quite amazing to listen to him speak in philosophy classes ( I particularly enjoyed my Aesthetics class with him).

I will miss discussing art and politics and life and what to do when people disappoint you and drinks and dancing and everything with him. I was blessed to have seen him one more time a couple of weeks before he died. This is something I wrote a couple days ago, but want to put it here.

Jon WAS a very good man and a good friend. I will miss him very much. Every day for work, I walk by the window where he used to sit and work on the Pro Life banquet or other projects for SFL at AMU, where he’d make faces at me or make fun of me from. It saddens me beyond belief to know that I will not see that goofy smile again in this life.
In the original articles in the Macon newspaper, only Kortney and the other driver were listed as victims. Yesterday, when reporting Jon’s death, the newspaper also listed Sophy (they did not name her, but they did include her) as a victim of this terrible tragedy. I truly believe that this is a testament to Jon’s work and proof that even his death will not stop his fight for the unborn in this world.
He and Kortney will be guiding this movement from Heaven.Jon, I was blessed to have known you. Farewell, and rest in peace, my beautiful friend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The World has Lost a(nother) Beautiful Soul

And we have lost a wonderful friend, Jonathan Daniel Scharfenberger, champion of the unborn. I do not think that words can describe how much he will be missed by those he leaves behind. It is a shame that the world will not see your smile or hear you crack a joke again. But I am very grateful for the chance to have seen it and to be amused by your sense of humor. Rest in peace, Scharf.

‎"When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, thefinal judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us!'"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I wish my house would do this

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On the subject of...

As Catholics, we have a incredibly rich heritage of Art: music, painting, sculpting, architecture, literature - all of these enrich our Tradition amazingly. Yet in never really occurred to me how many different expressions of the same subject there are until recently. And the other day, this was really cemented for me when I was reading about a painting, that after years and years of uncertainty, was confirmed to be Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi". Because we have those in music too. So I thought that I would put together in a post some art, some music, and some writing all focused on Jesu, Salvator Mundi. 

Jesu, Salvator Mundi

I am going to put these first, not because I think they are more important, but because I think it is edifying to listen to the music, read the words, and see the images as a unit, rather than as individual examples. 

From the Dialogues of St. Catherine (of Sienna)
“So it happened that Catherine, being arrived at the age of six, went one day with her brother Stephen, who was a little older than herself, to the house of their sister Bonaventura, who was married to one Niccol˜, as has been mentioned above, in order to carry something or give some message from their mother Lapa. Their mother’s errand accomplished, while they were on the way back from their sister’s house to their own and were passing along a certain valley, called by the people Valle Piatta, the holy child, lifting her eyes, saw on the opposite side above the Church of the Preaching Friars a most beautiful room, adorned with regal magnificence, in which was seated, on an imperial throne, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, clothed in pontifical vestments, and wearing on His head a papal tiara; with Him were the princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, and the holy evangelist John. Astounded at such a sight, Catherine stood still, and with fixed and immovable look, gazed, full of love, on her Savior, who, appearing in so marvelous a manner, in order sweetly to gain her love to Himself, fixed on her the eyes of His Majesty, and, with a tender smile, lifted over her His right hand, and, making the sign of the Holy Cross in the manner of a bishop, left with her the gift of His eternal benediction. The grace of this gift was so efficacious, that Catherine, beside herself, and transformed into Him upon whom she gazed with such love, forgetting not only the road she was on, but also herself, although naturally a timid child, stood still for a space with lifted and immovable eyes in the public road, where men and beasts were continually passing, and would certainly have continued to stand there as long as the vision lasted, had she not been violently diverted by others. But while the Lord was working these marvels, the child Stephen, leaving her standing still, continued his way down hill, thinking that she was following, but, seeing her immovable in the distance and paying no heed to his calls, he returned and pulled her with his hands, saying: ‘What are you doing here? why do you not come?’ Then Catherine, as if waking from a heavy sleep, lowered her eyes and said: ‘Oh, if you had seen what I see, you would not distract me from so sweet a vision!’ and lifted her eyes again on high; but the vision had entirely disappeared, according to the will of Him who had granted it, and she, not being able to endure this without pain, began with tears to reproach herself for having turned her eyes to earth.” Such was the “call” of St. Catherine of Siena, and, to a mind intent on mystical significance, the appearance of Christ, in the semblance of His Vicar, may fitly appear to symbolize the great mission of her after-life to the Holy See.

da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' 

Fra Bartolomeo

Domenico Fetti

St. Agnes' in NY State

Not really sure about this one
I just liked it. 

Same with this one. 

"Jesus, Saviour of the world, come to the assistance of Your children, who, through Your blood, You have saved."

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's such a big shoe store...

Well, it's here. One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars and four and a half years later, I'm no longer a student. But now... now I am faced with the inevitable question of "what next???" I think it's even more scary than "how am I going to pay for this?" or "what major should I choose?" (which for me was quite scary. I chose four different ones between freshman and junior year and changed schools completely after I decided). Right now, I am in a merciful state of limbo: I am renting a house near the university until September while I have three jobs and will hopefully be able to save a decent amount of money so that I can afford whatever does come next.

It's kind of funny: I've worked so hard to get here and now, I've got so many options that I feel like someone just handed me a significant gift to card to a really great shoe store (that doesn't practice big feet discrimination.) What pair do I try on first? And do I have to buy the first pair that I try on? That's some pressure, right there. What if I pick the wrong ones? What if they don't fit. Do I want the comfortable, practical ones or the ones that are maybe not the most comfortable but that are so incredibly cute (and knowing me, probably purple) that it really doesn't matter how badly my feet hurt when I finally do take them off. What if the gift card isn't enough to cover it? Do I really want to be stuck with this particular pair of shoes for the rest of my life? Am I sure I didn't just accidentally walk into the tattoo parlor, not the shoe store????

Do I continue my studies? And if so, in what direction? Music? Law? Education? Psychology? Photography? Culinary arts? Is it normal to have a choice field so broad? Although I suppose that if I am honest, I know that photography and culinary schools are in places five and six. I'm not incredibly interested in going to grad school for music, and there is only one place where I'm qualified to study Psychology (that I know of. IPS). Which helps to narrow down the list.

Do I just enter the workforce as an enthusiastic young person with lots of debt to pay off and therefore willing to work nights and weekends? But in what field? Yay for lots of resume filling experiences (for a 22 year old) and liberal arts educations, yeah?

So many options, so many choices. Lucky for me, I do not have to make them today. Today, I'm not going to worry about that. Today, I'm simply going to enjoy my first official day off. And my first day of not returning to the classroom. For now, anyway.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black, Brown and White

Since October of 2008, I've been an employee of FSI (food service) at Ave Maria University. Ave is located in Southwest Florida, near a small town called Immokalee. Immokalee is a town populated largely by immigrants - both legal and illegal - from Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic especially. It is probably one of the poorest places in all of Florida with the average yearly salary of just over $17,000 which contrasts nicely with Naples (about 40 minutes away) where the median income is close to $100,000 a year and the median house/condo price is more than $800,000.

Naples is where really rich people retire. Their backyard in Immokalee is where really poor people are sometimes enslaved. ( ) It's quite the difference. Some of my coworkers at FSI are from Haiti and Mexico and Cuba and Argentina and ..well, you get the picture. I think there may be four Americans working there total: me, my boss, the director, and one of the chefs. LOL. A lot of my coworkers live in Immokalee. Some live in Naples (but definitely not the richer part).  I've always respected these people, but since I've been working there more this summer and it's slower, these people have really come to wriggle their ways into my heart. There's Roberto, from Argentina, whose wife is actually a bio professor here. She's had cancer for a while and he works in the kitchen with us. I'm not sure what his story is, but it must be really rough for him. He has two teenage girls and a sick wife. He's always smiling. He makes fun of me for.. a lot of things and he laughs as much as I do (which if you know me, you know is quites a bit). Then there's Cesar, a chef from Cuba. I also don't know his story because he speaks very little English, though he has started to pick up more and more. Our conversations are rarely more than 2 minutes, but somehow, we always manage to have a laugh at something. Sometimes he even makes fun of me. Then there is Bruno. He's one of my favorites. He's from Haiti and he left a wife and a little baby girl there. He's very dedicated and works hours that I would never want (though I think I am getting them the week after next. LOL). When I describe him to people they always - not one person hasn't yet- say "oh you mean the one who always smiles and is so happy?" Yes. That's the one. The one who even when he didn't know if his family was alive for more than a week still came to work and still smiled. There's Daisy, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, a highschooler in Immokalee. She's worked at FSI longer than I have and everyone loves her. Her biggest dream is to get into FSU or FGCU. She's determined, realistic, and super sweet. She's got a good head on her shoulders and I hope to highest heavens that she succeeds. I think she will. There's Illar, the other Cuban chef, whose stories from Cuba always either entertain or humble me. He's held down two or three jobs consistently while putting himself through trade school since he's been here. He learned English and expects others at work to do so as well. I think it is his influence that swayed Cesar to learn. I don't know a single person in the kitchen who doesn't like him or respect him and I've seen several people treat him horridly because of where he's from.

I've lived in Alabama and as much as I hate to say it, I've seen racism since I was in grade school. I remember one girl pulling another girl off the slide by the hood on her jacket for no real reason except that she was black and ahead of her in line. But I've seen so much racism this summer that I've been re-appalled all over. I've seen one of my (now former) coworkers say things to them that were entirely uncalled for. I've seen students automatically assume that I owned Illar's really awesome truck that we were using to carry tables to the pool, just because I'm the white one and he's the brown one. Then I saw him shrug and say "It's ok. They liked my truck."

No, it's not ok. It's not ok to have someone tell them that they deserve the menial kitchen tasks because of where they're from. It's not ok for someone to automatically assume that they are here mooching off the welfare system. It's not ok that they are disliked because of their accents (which I usually think are pretty cool) or their skin. It's just not ok. And it's not ok for someone to tell them that because of where they were born or what they look like, they can't take care of their families and they aren't welcome here. I really think this new Arizona legislation is a hideous thing. It won't solve any problems, it will just create more hatred.

I realize that there all sorts of legal and political things that go along with border patrol and such. And I am lucky that I work with people who are here legally. But if they weren't here legally, I don't see the how someone could say  "yeah, they should just leave. In fact, they shouldn't be here in the first place." Why shouldn't they? Can you imagine what it's like to live under Fidel Castro (and, from what I'm told, it's actually worse under his brother) or Hugo Chavez or to live in some poverty ridden place deemed "the most dangerous place on earth"? Can you? It's not like you told God where you wanted to go and He graciously put you there. We just got lucky in where we were born. That person who grew up in the slums of Port Au Prince, that could have been me or you or anyone. So why.. why would we say that just because you weren't born here, you shouldn't come and sure as Hell won't be welcomed if you do? What gives us the right to decide that someone is less than human because of where they were born?  I've had people tell me that "you can't make immigration a personal matter". What? How can you not? These are, after all, persons we are talking about. Persons that other persons love and depend on. Persons that have probably endured more suffering than most Americans will in a lifetime. And yet... we would like to think of them as somehow less than a person?

 I don't know any solution, I don't know anything except that what I've seen this summer is sad and the people I work with are kind of amazing. But I leave with this: 

‎"No human being-no matter how poor or how weak- can be reduced to just a problem" - Archbishop Thomas Wenski (Archdioceses of Miami) July 1, 2010

And I ask you to keep Bruno in your prayers. For the first time in over a year, he's going to visit his wife and child! 

Friday, June 04, 2010

From the "Adult Child" Perspective

Homeschooling, specifically "unschooling" has been in the news quite a bit lately, what with this story of Dominic Johansson, seized by Swedish authorities 10 months ago as his family was fleeing to a country where they could legally homeschool, and this segment on Good Morning America (with this rebuttal at The Huffington Post ). It has set me thinking quite a bit. I'm spread out on my dorm room floor, with my books, and my laptop, and my food (haha), writing a paper about the political, musical and philosophical idioms present in Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio and reflecting.

Tonight I sang in 90 voice choir with members of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. Last year, my professor told our chamber choir that we were all quite capable of singing in professional choirs, if we work. I can sing opera arias and Schubert lieder and complex polyphony. I can write in the style of Palestrina and Bach (though not well, yet) and can analyze the heck out of a Beethoven sonata.  It amazes me because this is a field that I never thought I'd ever "be good enough" in to study.

My mother took me out of the public school system after I finished 6th grade at age 12. At first, I was not really happy about it. And at first it was rather difficult for all parties to adjust, I think. But eventually we got the hang of it - or we at least pretended to.

My first formal exposure to music was when I began taking piano lessons at age 7ish. I also sang in the choir then, but I don't think I could call that formal. In the 5th grade I started playing clarinet in the school "band" which had a total of eight members in four grades, three of whom played sax. After we began homeschooling, there was a need for high school art credits and a we had a friend who wanted to start a children's chant group. For close to six years, we sang chant ordinaries, hymns, antiphons and early polyphonic pieces. This was probably my most... life-forming encounter with music. I love chant, but it wasn't with that that I fell in love. It was the polyphony. Palestrina? Victoria? I absolutely love them. Des Prez? So gorgeous. And intricate. And ... just amazing. My mother signed me up for a class at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Resource Center to take a theory class where I learned that I am actually capable of studying music. Every year for about 7 years I was able to go to a chant conference in Auburn, AL (or Roswell, GA or Ave Maria, FL)  run by the St. Cecilia Schola. It was there that I met Jeffrey Tucker, Arlene Oost-Zinner, Dr. William Mahrt, and Mr. Scott Turkington. They're kinda big shots in the Catholic Liturgical/ Sacred Music world. And that's kind of an understatement. (Who knew Alabama was such a hubbub of Catholic culture, eh?)

It was at the last conference held in Auburn that I learned that my fellowship application to start a Gregorian Schola at Southern Catholic College had been accepted. My first thought was "Holy crow. WHAT have I gotten myself into???" Mr. Turkington's were "That's absolutely wonderful!"  I was not so sure. He was. And I probably have him to thank that I didn't back out right then and there. He gave me books to help me out. He talked to me about strategies and plans during his free time. He also told me to check into to the three week chant practicum at Catholic U. So I did. And thanks to Fr. Robert Skeris I was able to go. To D.C. By myself. For three weeks. (It was really great. I did a lot of touristy things and met some awesome people and I also got to hear the National Symphony Orchestra twice; once they played the 1812 Overture WITH CANONS. Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton and Vanessa Williams were also there. It was so great. But that's a different story.)

When I got to SCC, I had some skills (though I doubted them at the time), I had a plan, and, I had a schola. Eventually the schola developed into the first choir at Southern Catholic. When that happened, a group of five of us still continued to get together and sing. And then we were recruited to sing at a few events around Atlanta - fundraisers for the school and such. One  event was at an Atlanta hospital. There was a big gala/ reception thrown by the Serra Club for a group of sisters who played a big role in the comfort and care of patients at the hospital. It was a very interesting experience to sing this:  for a group of Sisters in cargo pants. (I have nothing at all against them. We just tend to have different views when it comes to musical taste.) It was interesting to see the reactions of people hearing a group of five random college students sing music like that.

Personally, I had a lot fun singing like that. It was challenging to learn new pieces, it was frightening to perform them. It was a blast. So I switched schools. I'm now in my (hopefully) final semester at Ave Maria University and in December, I will be certifiably Bad A$$ when I complete my Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal music with a concentration in Sacred Music. For the past two years I have sung with some of the most talented people I've ever met. I got into the chamber choir (20 students as opposed to AMU Choir which has 80). I have studied with some very learned professors and gained insight into every aspect of life that you could ever think imaginable and then some. I've developed a sense of self and of purpose. And why am I saying all this? Because I doubt that had I stayed in public schools, I would have gone on this journey. Maybe I would have. I can't really say. But having been "unschooled" I was able to focus on music in a way that probably would have been discouraged in my school. I say that because there had been other academic endeavors from which I had been discouraged. My school was not a bad school. It was just a systematic school; one which had no bend room for people who didn't really fit the system - like my sister who was reading at 9th grade reading level when she was 9. AR was fun for her. (not).

I think the biggest thing that I have learned is go for it. If you sit around thinking "I can't" - well- you won't. If you want something, it's up to you to make it happen. Some people would call it rash and stupid. I say life is an adventure and I am following the advice of Dr. Seuss:

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on y our way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up 
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's 
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.

So...get on your way!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Granola Bars and Food Processors

I love granola bars. REAL Granola bars. Not chewy chocolate chip coasted in sugar to make me actually taste good granola bars. My favorite was the Nature's Valley kind. I'd eat them breakfast. I'd eat them for snacks. Once I even ate one for lunch.

Not any more. :(

However, a couple weeks ago, I went to a nutrition seminar and the facilitator gave out samples of Larabars. These things were very intriguing. And they have two ingredients: nuts and dates. They were REALLY good and the perfect substitute for waking up in the morning and rushing to class while still managing to have a decent breakfast bars. They are in the "energy bar" and "dieting bar" section (at Publix) and... they are not cheap. lol. I've seen worse, but still they come out to about $1.25 a piece.

So... today, I dragged out my blender, put in some dates and some peanuts (I wanted cashews, but I ate them all. oops. Planters were B1G1!)  Anyway, I came out with...

and now, I have my very own breakfast on the go bars. THAT I MADE! I think they taste a little better, too. The others are slightly more dry than mine. I think I may need to put these in the fridge, but they may be just fine. Either way, I'm super excited.

I feel like these are just really great in general. I would make them for my brothers (they loved my granola bars lol) and they are so much better for you than a cookie. lol. They're perfect for snacks after playing/fishing/reading/exploring all day.

I think I'll play around with combos of different nuts and fruits. Maybe prunes would be good. I see on the larabar website they have all sorts of flavours (at publix they only have three. lol) I have come to the conclusion that I should invest in a food processor, though. The blender has unequal  distribution that makes the stuff in the bottom buttery ish while the stuff on top is not.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Simple Things

Every Sunday, one of the Ave professors brings his family to eat in the cafeteria after the 12:30 Mass. I think the entire staff enjoys seeing them there. They are really little (I doubt the oldest one is more than 8) and I think there are five of them. They are well behaved and polite. They will also randomly break into Spanish, which delights the majority of the staff (who cannot speak English or who speak it as a second language), especially since some of them take after their mother and sport blonde hair and blue eyes.

Not only are the children lovely, but so are Dr. and Mrs M. Dr. M will will have children climbing all over him, or he'll toss them up in the air and catch them and they shriek with delight (remember those days? lol), sometimes Mrs. M will have books and there will be small children gathered around listening to her read. And Dr. and Mrs. M interact with each other in a wonderful way. It's just... absolutely wonderful to see this family. They are one of my favourite "professor families" here. One of my friends said, "that family always makes me happy. It's like, my dream future family".

On Easter Sunday, I was working. For work, it was a rather laid back kind of day. It was super slow, anyway, since most students went home for Easter. My boss (Chuck) had a "dinner with the director" set up where students could go and eat with his family and it was actually really nice. Actually, we basically got paid to play with his kids and nephew.

Dr. M and his family walked in, and though they didn't stay, the oldest boy came up to me and said "Excuse me, are you the cashier today?" "Yes, I am, do you need help?" "No, but I left something on the counter for you" So he took me over to the counter and shows me....

A package of iridescent stickers.

Really Awesome Iridescent Stickers on the back of my key card.
The picture does not do them justice. 

Let me just say, they are REALLY Awesome iridescent stickers. I put them on the back cover of my phone (I have a touch screen, so the front is not an option, lol) and people will be like, "what is that on your phone?" and I show them and they are amused for minutes at time. I am at a university that is known for its academic rigor.They are freakin' awesome stickers. LOL. Anyway, that MADE MY EASTER! It's the only Easter present I got this year. haha (oh the hardships of being at college).

Today we (the other cashier and I) put a Dr. Seuss thank you card in Dr. M's mailbox. Because, it really really did make our Easter day so much happier. In fact, just looking at them makes me happy. So I had to tell you all, too. :)