Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas, you guys!

You are all amazing and I really don't know what I'd do without you. Besides be very lonely.

Here's a short little story for anyone who cares:

The other day, Daniel was really mad at Dominic for something (probably silly) and he yelled "WELL, DOM, YOU'RE JUST NOT CUTE!!!" At which Dominic promptly burst into tears and came crying to me.

Oh dear. What have we done to little guy? Youngest child syndrome much?


Although, it's really fun to tease him that he just isn't cute.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I had a Thought in Latin

Yeah, if Latin was in the computer lab, there would be a new post every Monday and Thursday. About random things. It might be interesting.

I would feel like I had a good return on a poor investment anyhow. And it would be my consolation for failing the class...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Objectification ~ Something for my Girls ~

This is not a new subject for me- many of you have heard me going off on a rant about pick-up lines and how they tend to objectify women. I've been told that perhaps, I'm taking things a bit too far. Perhaps I am, but I doubt it. I've only just now figured out why it is that I get so uptight about objectification: I spent my memorable childhood (I just mean the part that I remember) as the sexual object of a perverse old man. I know what objectification is; I know what happens to those objectified. The problem is that it takes soooo long to see and to figure out these things, that it's too late. I'm sure it didn't help that I was eight at the time, and therefore pretty much unable to comprehend it, but I see other women my age and older dealing with the same thing and even, for me, dealing with something similar and still not fully realizing or not wanting to realize what's happening.


Most girls who read this probably listened to the Christopher West series in Villa four. At one point he said that "you must refuse to let yourself be lusted after" - Men do this by more than just looking at porn. Pick-up lines, for instance. Ok, so I won't go off on that rant, but I will say that any time a man intimates that he wishes to get to know you by using sexual language, he sees you as an object, not as a person. Never date a guy who uses pick-up lines. Besides treating you as an object, he's completely unoriginal; they get them online and think they're brilliant. You are not here for a guy's sexual pleasure. Really, if a guy honks or whistles or yells some random pick up line at you (my top pet peeves), why is he doing it? He doesn't know you. He doesn't even want to know you. He's only seen you. You are not an object. You are not a toy. You are not here for some guy's sexual gratification. Don't let them make you think that you are.

You are person. Demand respect.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something That Started out Being a Short Peice for the Newspaper, but Kinda Turned Weird

A subject that comes up here frequently is that of music: music as “expression;” music as an art form; and most predominantly, music at Mass. This really is quite natural considering that we are at a Catholic school and the Liturgy is the “source and summit” of the Church’s actions. We should definitely give the Mass all of the honor and awe that is due to it.

In The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom writes that “music is the medium of the human soul.” Music speaks to and speaks for the soul. One of the most prominent external aspects of the Mass is its music. It is an expression of our worship of Christ and a way in which God’s glory can be made known to us. It should be no surprise, then that this element of Mass is argued about quite frequently.

There is really only one aesthetic requirement that music at Mass must meet: that it be beautiful. This is because, as Pope Benedict XVI says, beauty “enables us to experience the presence of God.” Here one may say "but beauty is subjective." I answer: not quite. Beauty is defined as by Webster's dictionary as "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit." Yet again one might say, “what exalts individual minds or spirits is subjective.” I answer: not true.That which is the highest Good is God. The ultimate goal of every man is (or should be) to reach the greatest Good. Man cannot reach Good without goodness; man's spirit cannot be lifted to the highest Good by something that is not good. Because of the nature of “good” something cannot be good and not lift man's spirit to God, even if man does not realize that his spirit is being lifted. This is why beauty is not subjective. But, because of sin, beauty can be perverted but still seem beautiful. A prime example of the perversion of beauty is seen in human sexuality. I am not saying that human sexuality is beauty perverted. Human sexuality is wondrously beautiful when it is not used in a perverted fashion. It fulfills the requirement of lifting the soul to God. But when a man (or a woman) uses his sexuality in any way other than that which was intended, it no longer lifts his soul; in fact, it drags his soul away from God, yet, it still can be mistakenly perceived as good.The same is true of music. St. Augustine said, “Music, that is the science or the sense of proper modulation, is likewise given by God's generosity to mortals having rational souls in order to lead them to higher things." Beautiful music lifts the soul to God. This is the purpose of music at Mass: to lift the souls of the faithful to God.

The Church has given us guidelines about which types of music are more appropriate at Mass, which type of music best lift souls, and, as always, explanations about why. In his Chirograph for the Centennial of the Motu Proprio Trale Sollecitudint on Sacred Music, Pope John Paul II quoted, and hence, reiterated Pope Pius XII’s statement, "The more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savour the Gregorian melodic form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple" This is because Gregorian chant was developed specifically for the Latin (as in Roman) liturgy. The music was developed to fit the words, the words of the Word; the Word was not fitted to secular music. Gregorian chant is so special in the Church because it has no roots in secular music. It was made to fit the sacred. The sacred was not conformed to it. This singularness is why Gregorian chant is given “pride of place” in the Roman Liturgy.

This is not to say that chant is the only music that can or should be used at Mass. Sacred music should be developed; cultures change. But just because sacred music should be developed does not mean that “the old stuff” should be forgotten. Quite the contrary, it should be treasured and kept alive to be passed down to all generations.

Sacred music should be developed from the sacred, not the secular. The “liturgical musician” should be educated in the history, purpose, and rules of sacred music because the way in which we adorn the Mass should not be arbitrary. It should not be based solely on how someone feels or what someone likes. It should be based on the appropriateness for the liturgy, which is judged by an historical, a theological, and an aesthetic standard. Each piece of the Mass that is sung has a different historical, theological, and aesthetic meaning and purpose. It is the work of sacred music to portray those meanings. It is not the work of Sacred music to make people feel good, or to make them happy or comfortable. I’m sure Christ wasn’t comfortable on the Cross.

Several times in the history of the Church, it has been necessary to remind the faithful of the sacredness that should be present in the music used at Mass. Sacred means something special, different, set apart for something higher than one’s self, something that is not ordinary or mundane. The Mass is the prime example of Sacredness. There is nothing more sacred than receiving the physical body and blood of our Savior. The music used at Mass should remind of this. Music at Mass should not be modeled off of the everyday secular music that we listen to. The music of the Mass should be built around the sacredness and mystery of the True Presence of Our Lord.

And this is why modern music really has no place at Mass: it has more roots in the secular than in the sacred. We often hear that today’s society is highly individualistic and ego-centric and, while it may seem far-fetched to some, that is clearly seen in lots of the recently (last 40 years or so) composed music used at Mass. “Here I am, Lord” “Gather us in” “We are the Light of the World” “Servant Song” “City of God”- those are all very mild examples of this. There are many that are much worse; there are the quite blatantly the “pat ourselves on the back” type songs. The words of the music are supposed to lead us to worship and to praise; what the words are saying is what we led to praise. If we constantly hear songs that praise ourselves in relation to the world and to God, rather than praising God in relation to us (us as lovers, worshipers, helpers, and guides to others or children of God [note the feel goodness] as opposed to God as a creator, Redeemer, Saviour, ect,) we are going to get into the mindset of "me".

This is what leads Monsignior Grau (President of the Pontifical Institue of Sacred Music) to say, "How far we are from the true spirit of sacred music. How can we stand it that such a wave of inconsistent, arrogant and ridiculous profanities have so easily gained a stamp of approval in our celebrations?" Open any OCP hymnal and you will find words that are over-flowing with me-ness if you’re lucky; with heresy if you aren’t.

Dr. Bruce stresses the importance of words. Psychological studies show that words even subconsciously affect the way a person thinks and acts (a random series of words- five words a line and about ten or fifteen lines- which a person is supposed to make a sentence (4 words) out of as fast as he can - something like green mean lights shove go, only each sentence has a trigger word and the trigger words are all connected to a concept or an emotion, such as getting old, or agression or politeness and the trigger words, though the person is unconscious of any change, actually do change the way a person acts. It's called priming.) If something as random as placing the words "wrinkle" and "Florida" together in series of scrambled sentences make our unconscious minds think of getting old and manifests itself in our wlking more slowly (one of the studies I read about), how much more so will something done consciously make us think of what it says? The I and me do not go unoticed. They spill into the way we think about Mass; and then, the Mass becomes more about "me" than about God.

And that is why people get so passionate about music. It isn't just something random, it's indoctrinating.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Awed by Love



Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not
proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it
keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the
truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
My father loves me. I'm ashamed to admit that I never realized or appreciated just how much. Ever since ... forever, really, but especially since we born, my father has worked so hard to provide us with what we need, and even harder to give us what we want. I remember when I was a little girl, that spending time with Dad was a special thing because he normally worked 80-90 hours a week, night shift. He would always make time for us, though. His favorite thing was to make his girls smile.

When I was about five, my mom took us to Philadelphia so that she could help my grandmother pack and sell her house. I don't remember how long we stayed, but I remember the day that a package came for us from my dad. There were all sorts of things inside of it, but I only remember one: a video. He had and borrowed a friend's recorder and made a movie of him taking care of the farm. He went through each of our animals (mine, believe it or not, was a goat. her name was Goldie and I had bottle-fed her and she was kind of like a dog. She was always getting out of the fence to come greet us), and he showed us how much they missed us. Goldie wouldn't stay in her pen at all and went wandering around the yard bleating, Carolynne's dog, Dixie, would not stop barking, Christina's chicken hatched her egg, but the little one kept getting picked on so Dad assured her that he had moved it and taken care of it for her. We still have that movie; it's labeled "Dad Loves his Girls."


My dad worked at a text-tile mill for fifteen years. When I was around 12 or 13, it became pretty clear that the mill jobs would soon be out-sourced. My dad, in order to prevent long term hardship, enrolled in the local technical school to get certified as an HVAC technician. For the next two years, he went to work at 6pm, worked until 6am, drove to school, slept in the parking lot for two hours, went to class from 8-noon, came home, ate lunch with us, went to sleep, and started over again. Sometimes, he would try and get some yard work done. During the fifteen years he worked there, he took one vacation. He went to work no matter what; one time, had a fever of 104 and still went to work, despite Mom's warnings. Because he worked so hard while he was sick, he damaged nerves in his arm and suffers from that a lot.

When the mill finally did close, things still did not go that well, he went through a series of jobs, that while absolutely crummy and awful for him, were good for us-like the chicken job, so he perserved. Eventually he found a job in Birmingham, repairing reefer (refridgerator) units on semis. He loved doing that job. Unfortunately, the boss didn't like him. He was promised a raise several times and never given it. He definitately deserved it; even the boss acknowledged that he was one of his best techs; he could do things that no one else there could. But things with the boss escalated and my dad didn't like being so far from us (Birmingham is three hours away, he stayed up there with family during the week, came home on weekends). Before the things with the boos came to a head (but not very much before), he found a job only 50 miles away doing the same thing. This time his boss was a decent man. My dad loved working for him, and the boss knew how great he was at this job. His boss, however, was soon transferred and the one who came instead thought even worse of him than the one in Bimingham. His evaluations were never accurate. Things weren't good for my dad at all. A guy at his work stole his tools (thousands of dollars worth). He died and when his sister came to get his stuff, my dad didn't have the heart to tell her that they weren't his. His boss always told him how bad he was at his job (despite the fact that his boss also had to ask him how to do things). Dad went to a national training thing for ThermoKing and was the first person to ever solve the problem. And he didn't even use the computers. One day, my father was talking to his old boss- a person of quite a bit seniority within the company- about what the current one was doing- it was all stuff against the handbook. Within a week, my dad was fired for "voicing disagreement with management."

Over the next couple of years, my dad had a series of jobs 50-90 miles away. Eventually, he got tired of the commute and it became not worth it with gas prices. So he found jobs here. These jobs weren't enough, though. It stressed him out to have to worry so much about paying bills. He didn't care about the bills, he wanted to be able to give us yeses when we asked for something. He wanted to be able to bring my mom a random present just because he loves her.

Somehow, during all this time, he taught me how to wire a house, how to shoot a gun, how to skin what you shoot, how to build a barn, how to rebuild a car (we're still working on that one), how to run a farm for food and profit, and how to do so many other things, that if I were to name them all, it would take a book. But what he really did was show wme how to love.

Now, he's across the country, working at a job that he doesn't particulary care for, in weather that he absolutely hates (10 degrees is the high tomorrow. He works outside and it's snowing.) He works in a crew that doesn't particularly like him because he's better than they are at the job. They go behind him and undo what he has done. His immediate boss thinks incompetent. He wants to move him to a different crew. A crew where it wouldn't be possible for my mother and siblings to follow him. His boss's boss, though, saw the guys doing that. They've been warned, but the tension is still there for my dad. All this he has done because he loves us. He didn't do it for the money, he didn't do it because he wanted to; he did it because if he did, life would be easier for us. If he did, he would be able to say yes to things we wanted, he could have flowers randomly sent to the door for my mother, he could help his daughter buy food and pepperspray and clothes and tuition.

And I didn't care until last year. I loved my dad, yes. I also argued incessantly with him. I loved our time together, but didn't always want it. I sometimes was attitudical about it. (You guys have never seen my attitude. You may think you have, but you haven't. Think the Andy fiasco times oh, 300.)

I don't know how I could have been such a brat. I haven't seen my dad in 7 months, before that I hadn't seen him for 2 months, I saw him for a couple weeks this summer, but he was always working. I miss him like crazy. He misses us so much. But he loves us too much to give up on this. He never thinks of himself. If he can think of something to do for us, he does it without question, no matter how much work it takes him. He doesn't know it, but tomorrow my mother is flying into Denver to spend Thanksgiving with him.

I must admit, I am jealous of my mother. I wish I could see him. I wish I could give him a hug. I wish there was another way for him. I wish that I had seen this before I moved away. I wish that I could take back everything awful I said to him, even though I know he's forgotten it. I wish that it wasn't so cold for him. I wish I was there to cook him dinner and wash his clothes. I wish I had smiled more when I was younger instead of throwing tantrums because I couldn't have what I wanted (I didn't do this very often, but when I did...)

My father loves me. And I wish that I could show him how much I love and miss him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

TRADITION!!!

I would guess that these last two months of the year are the two most filled with tradition: national traditions, local traditions, family traditions. But I have to wonder whether some traditions have not become routines.

I come from a family that values traditions. We've invented so many since I was little that I doubt I could count them. Traditions do not have to be ancient. This has really hit me since now a decent portion of our family is scattered across the country and since I now either don't take much part in the traditions, or I take part in them over the phone. More often than not, it's the former. It's a slightly weird feeling to be missing those traditions, like eating ice cream outside in the winter. That's just not really supposed to happen.

One thing that was stressed at the beginning of the sacraments and liturgy class is the human need for ritual; the need for something by which to order one's life; there are a multitude of examples of this in the natural world: the seasons, night and day, the cycles of the moon, and the orbits of the planets to name a few. This urge goes beyond the individual and flows into the societal. Societies also need something by which to order their lives; the ancient Egyptians ordered societal life by the flooding of the Nile. Traditions and rituals are not routines and shouldn't become so. Rituals and traditions are of a sacred character. Routines are for everyday life. The Nile was not just a river.


"There are a lot of bad isms in the world and commercialism is the worst!" While I don't think I necessarily agree with that statement (I'm inclined to think that maybe things like communism and socialism are a little worse), I can definitely see its validity. Communism and socialism wouldn't be so bad if not for commercialism. Commercialism certainly plays a part in communism and socialism.

Problems result when you allow your life to be commercialized. If you only take part in traditions because it’s what you’ve always done, or worse, it’s what everyone else does, then why do it? If traditions abound during this time of the year, then so does the secularization and routinization (so it’s not a word, yet) of traditions. Christmas carols, for example. Long ago, when Catholics ruled the world, there were rules for when what could be sung because of the special character of the liturgical year. (There still are, people are just ignorant and don’t care.) Puer Natus in Bethlehem (A child is born in Bethlehem) was not sung until Christmas. Not only that, but Christmas music was not about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Now, however, when you walk into any shopping center after November first or so, you will hear Christmas music being blasted over the sound system in an effort to “get you into the holiday spirit,” i.e., buy stuff. The carelessness with which such traditions are flung about gives them an ordinary, humdrum type of feeling. In fact, they can get old and annoying. A person can only take Jingle Bell Rock so many times a year. And if that person happens to be Lauren, well…

Five Novembers ago, it had not been a good year for my family. Within a month, my mother’s mother died, my father lost his job due to out-sourcing, and the Quince stuff was told. While my grandmother had been sick for a couple of years, her death was unexpected. She died peacefully in her sleep, with her caretakers there. She was only 61. There are not a lot of jobs here; it took a few months for my dad to find one. He finally did find one at a chicken processing plant keeping the freezers running. The Quince stuff led to a bunch of things with my father's mother that were just plain unpleasant, to put it lightly. In the time between, Dominic was born! Yay for babies! Especially brother babies! At the chicken plant, they sold chicken to the employees for next to nothing. So we had plenty of chicken. Freezers full, actually. That year, by the time Thanksgiving came around, we were sick of poultry. None of us wanted to eat turkey. We wanted steak. So, we made a fire pit, and cooked steak and sausage (brat-like sausage, not breakfast sausage) for Thanksgiving. We had whatever sides we wanted. And tons of desserts- everyone's favorite and possibly even everyone's second and third favorites. Any outsider would have looked at that mis-matched meal (because we had little boys, I'm sure half of the sides were random and didn't really match with anything) and laughed. Maybe pittied. We had no one over except my mother's brother. But it was the most memorable Thanksgiving I've ever had. It was simple, but it was everything we needed. We had each other and we had the material things for which we were most able to be thankful at that time. The little ones gave us laughter and my parents gave me anyway one of my most pleasant and treasured memories. I'm sure that when we are all grown up and gathered somewhere, this will be one of the "do you remember whens?" most fondly remembered.

That Thanksgiving was the first Thanksgiving that I ever really was more than usually unusually grateful. By that I mean, of course I had always been extra thankful on Thanksgiving, but it was more out of habit or training than by sheer gratitude. That Thanksgiving, as I ate some of favorite things on the planet and as I sat around the table just talking with my family, I was grateful. I didn't know it was possible to be so grateful. Before that Thanksgiving, I think that we all would have thought it absurd not to have the traditional turkey and sweet potatoes and whatever else it is that is proper to eat on Thanksgiving. But that Thanksgiving we realized, the turkey isn't the tradition.

And so, because of that Thanksgiving, while I am not diametrically oppossed to eating turkey on Thanksgiving (in fact, we are eating turkey this year), I have become more conscious of the difference between Thanksgiving traditions and Thanksgiving routines. As I am here at home, finally reunited with my little boyos (who really aren't that little anymore), getting them what they need, rocking them, reading to them, being read to by them, playing with them, cooking for and with them, cleaning with them, and being fought over by them, I've been reflecting on these things. Routines are not always fun, they most certainly are not freedom. They are the measuring stick or the straight edge which makes sure that nothing is out of place, that the world keeps running as planned without interruption.

The world is not run by a routine. Take a look at the sunset one day and look again at it the next. It is not the same. It's a different sunset everyday. The colors change, the shape of the clouds change, everything changes. Yes, it is ordered awesomeness, but it is awesomeness, nonetheless. Our lives should not become bleak routines. We should value the sacred, wonder at the little, everyday things, and never be bored by the repition which sometimes seems to be the norm. For repition and norm it is not. Look closely, you will find something you've never found before. When scrubbing the kitchen for aaalll those guests, perhaps the shiney-ness of the sink, which depiste your routine you seem to have neglected, will make you smile. Perhaps some small child will show you something you've seen before at least a million times, but this child will show you something you have missed, something that only a child's joy can explain. If traditions become routines, the only thing left for routines to become is a slave master. God did not intend for us to be slaves. Besides, we can't have more than one master. If we let the sacredness and the specialness of traditions slip away and become routines, we are in danger of letting the routine become our god.

So in the midst of the bustle and hustle that usually accompanies this time of the year, take time to remember why you are doing what you will inevitably find yourself doing out of habit, whether it be eating turkey or watching football or shopping on Friday. Find the reason for these things and then you will find that scrubbing the kitchen isn't so bad after all.

Back Where I Belong

With my boyos. Life is good.


And I have a stove.


Being here makes me want to quit college and go work at a soup kitchen or an orphanage or a hospital or something. Somewhere where people need to be taken care of.


Have a really great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Reformation and Egocentrism

One of Southern Catholic College's catch-phrases is "Are you bold enough to change the world?" I believe that it actually is "ARE YOU BOLD ENOUGH To CHANGE THE WORLD?" Reflecting upon the major world changing figures in history, even those in our lifetime, however, causes me to wonder: do they really want us to be bold?

I have absolutely no doubt that the school, in choosing a motto, thought of nothing but the positive connotations of the word "bold": courage and confidence. These are good qualities to have. But, as we discussed in Philosophy 101 last year, courage that is not controlled by the intellect and the will becomes rashness, not an admirable quality at all. Confidence without humility becomes pride, and a pride so inflamed that one can disregard the good of others and the good of society, the good of the world because of his own ideas, whether those ideas are true or not.

Take a look at some of the great reformists thoughout history: St. Patrick, St. Catherine of Siena, Niccolo Machievelli, King Henry VIII, Martin Luther, Leo XIII, Ghandi, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Mao Tse- Tung, Mother Teresa, John Paul II, Saddam Hussien, the list goes on. All of these people were bold. The difference is that some were humble.

Boldness without humility is worth nothing. Nothing will be done for the right reasons. No good can come out boldness that's not tempered by humility. I think that, second to musicians/performers, reformers may be the most inclined to have inflated egos, because once you take on a cause, it's hard not to caught up in that cause and forget the reason for the cause; the reason becomes the cause itself and not the good that will come from that cause. That's why the oversized "you" bothers me. Changing the world is not about me. It's not about my being bold or not so bold. It's about Truth and Goodness. But in order for Truth and Goodness to triumph, they first have to get over the "me" that is in the way; in order for that to happen, there must be true humilitly.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Rant About Creepy Guys

The world is full of them. I've known this since I was 7, when I had my first encounter with one. I'd always kind of hoped that that was the only one that I would really have to deal with. I knew I would run into some every now and then, but I had really hoped that they would all just kind of ignore me and leave me alone forever.

But the creepiest individual at SCC (at least, the creepiest student of last year and the creepiest individual this year- I'm not sure that the old librarian wouldn't give you a run for your money, dear, when it comes to creepiness- he was genuinely creepy, you are creepy by effort, although it is obvious that you are beginning to need to exert less and less effort) had other plans. I now have a log, as per Father's orders, of every time he does something creepy. I bet he does, too, but just because he revels in being a creep. Now there's something I wouldn't want to read...

I really wonder what his problem is. I feel kind of sorry for him. I mean, he's a lonely, miserable, wretched human being. Something was missing from his childhood, and it kind of seems like it was love. (See, girls! Look what happens if we don't be women) He told me enough of his life story that I know that much. Of course, he also has a dead beat dad. Now I just feel sorry for him. No person shouldn't grow up with a mother's love and a father's love. That's just sad.

That said, no person should dwell on their past so much that they cannot cope with the present. Scoffs, and well deserved scoffs, may result from that statement coming out of my brain, but at least I recognize that it is true.

This has ceased to be a rant. I fail at everything. Especially writing papers for philosophy.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Impressing the World

It's a mighty sad thing when an institution that was founded to go against the the societal idea of "normal" for the sake of the Good, is found falling into that very idea of normality.

The Chapel was pretty full today. But it was not filled out of a completely voluntary self-bettering desire, it was filled because the Chancellor of the Archdiocese was here and he needed to be impressed. So the chapel was filled out of an excess of pride, rather than out of humility or even love. Is this pleasing? Is this even halfway good? It almost seems as if it would have been better if it had been filled out of obligation (if it had been made mandatory, which would still have been pride on the part of the school [unless daily Mass was always mandatory]), but it wouldn't have been pride on the part of every individual who came only because the Chancellor was here.

And it doesn't stop there...

The world and what it thinks should not be the standard, and most assuredly not the apex around which we operate. Truth should be the only thing we care about.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So What Does All That Mean?

I suppose that the penultimate post ( I just like the alliteration...) really did leave a lot of room for questions. I guess the most common would be something like, "Ok, so women should act like women... so... how should women act?"


I have heard many people say that it is hard define femininity in the modern world. That especially now, since women are told they and can and should do everything, and are made to feel inferior if they don't, the definition of femininity has changed and we have yet to define it in concrete terms. I do not agree; femininity is femininity whether a woman works or stays at home to watch children- 1000 years ago or now. I think that it's the application of femininity that is hard to figure out. At what point do careers/pleasure/whatever get in the way of true femininity? How should women act like women?

Well, before acting, women should think. How a woman thinks determines how a woman acts; what a woman thinks it means to be a woman is the way in which she lives out - or does not live out- her femininity. A woman should think that she has dignity and worth simply because she is, not because of what she does. If a woman does not think this, she will not be able to act as a woman should. Femininity seems to me to be more a kind of state of mind than an act or series of acts. The state of mind is reflected in the actions. There are some women who are very good at balancing home life and work life, and others who aren't so good at it, and I think this has to do with the way a woman thinks about what it means to be a woman. If a woman thinks that in order to prove her value as a person she must compete against men- that her worth and dignity depend on what she achieves in a male dominated work world- then she must reject her femininity because it will get her in way.

The difference between men and women encompasses both the physical and psychological. It is an essential difference. A woman's essence is different than that of a man's. It follows, then that because of this essential difference, the ultimate purpose of men and women, though the same (to get to heaven) would be achieved in different ways. These differences are not so much that one sex is better than the other, as that one sex is nothing without the other. Men need women (Yes, J.C.) and women need to men in order to reach their full potential as human beings.


Humans are composite beings (matter and form- i.e. body and soul). Differences in form -the intellective soul, the part that deals with how a person reasons, thinks, and responds to the world- are expressed in the matter (the body). The differences in the matter are expressed in the form. This does not necessariraly mean that the physical and mental capabilities of one sex are better or superior than the other's, it means that they are different.


A woman's body is potentially capable of carrying a child and giving birth. This is reflected in her intellective soul. The way she thinks is dictated by the fact that she has the potential to be a mother. It is in the nature of a woman to be a mother. This does not mean she must have a child to be a woman, or even that she must actually be physically capable of motherhood. There are women who give up physical motherhood for the good of others and have been for thousands of years. This does not make them less womanly.

So feminity is the embracing of motherhood (whether one is a mother or not). It is realizing that this is why we think the way we do and not fighting against it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Response to a Response That I Recieved

I shared the last post with a few people, just for criticism. I don't know why. I don't know.



The world is big and wide, and full of beliefs, with everyone
thinking they have
the 'ideal' way. There is no such thing. When I was
younger, I felt all
famillies were like my own also(thankfully they were
not, as my home life,
though supposidly solid Catholic was far from good).
People choose to live out
their lives like they want to do so. I do not feel
subsurvient to any man. If
you read the works of Austin or woman of her
period, woman were horribly
surpressed. They were thought of brainless
twits. They were stuck in loveless
marriages, while the husband had
countress concubines on the side. Woman, of
course, had no need for a sex
life. Re-read The Doll's House and see how woman
were really treated and
thought of in that era(by Ibsen).Dating is necessary.
How are you going to
know if you have the 'right' man if you don't see whats out
there. It also
teaches you social graces and how to look out for users or
jerks.Keep on
thinking...you have a good mind. Just allow it to open a see the
scope of
the world. You are in school, so see how others do things, and how they
live.When I was younger I did volunteer work in inner city Philadelphia. It
taught me alot, mostly it taught me how little I know. And guess what, I am
still learning. And each day I am challenged not to judge others, but to
accept
them and their ways




Ah, this bliss of arguing.


If there is no ideal way of life, then why bother? Why bother with kindness? Why bother with charity? Why bother with any morality at all? If there is no ideal way of life, why bother with any sort of religion, for is not Heaven a way of life? And would it not be the ideal way of life? And are there not actions that will get us to Heaven and actions that will bar us from Heaven?


Granted, here on earth, we can't really live the ideal life (a life in full communion with Christ), so we must strive live our lives following Him as closely as we can.


People do choose to live their lives as they please. It's a little thing called free will. A blessing and a curse. But just because someone chooses evil (a rejection of God, any size, a mean comment or anything) does not mean that evil is a good thing to choose. Nor does it mean that others must just accept the evil done and say "well that's just the way that so and so chooses to live his life." Again, if that's the case, why bother?

I have read the works of Jane Austen. The women who were thought of as twits generally were. The womenly women were not thought of as twits. When a man's wife was womanly, he didn't cheat on her. My point was not that this didn't happen, but that women should act like women, because look what happens if they don't. I remember reading "The Doll House." Unfortunately, it was a while ago and I don't remember the plot. I do remember that most of Ibsen's works (the ones I have read) were not exactly great representations of every day life. They seemed to be extraordinary circumstances.

Dating, oh dating... Of course dating is necessary. I did not say that it wasn't. I said that it is not something to play around with. Why would you date a guy that you are not attracted to? Especially if that guy really is attraced to you. That's just playing with someone's emotions and isn't fair or kind to them. I'm not going to hook up with some random guy just for the sake of dating. I would most definitely date someone to whom I was attracted. I'm not going to date someone that I don't know. The point of dating is not to get to know someone-that's what friendship is for- but get to know them in a deeper, more intimate way. I don't think that dating anyone who will date you is a very good way to find "the right guy." It actually seems like a disaster waiting to happen. I would have to respect "the right guy" and I expect him to respect me. I think I can tell whether a guy is a jerk without dating him. And, really, why would I want to date a guy to find out if he's a jerk? Seems a bit pointless to me. Seems a bit counterproductive, as well. I think I'll find out if he's a jerk first.

Seeing what others do and doing what others do are two very different things. If I see the results of something are bad, why would I imitate? If I see the results of something are good, why wouldn't I imitate. The point of an open mind is to find something around which to close it (I can't remember who I am paraphrasing- I think it's Chesterton). A consistently open mind is almost synonomous with an empty one. (Which is why I absolutely what that sign in the hallway that says "the point of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one" - it is NOT!- *end random rant). We are called not to judge the state of people's souls. We are not told that we should not judge whether an action is wrong or right, regardless of whether the actor considers it wrong or right. We are not to be pretentious about it, but we are not to accept everything as it comes.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Conglomeration of Thoughts from this Summer and This Month

Most people who read this already know that my summer job was ironing clothes for a family of eight. This summer, I also read Home Comforts: the Art and Science of Keeping House (interestingly enough, written by a philosophy professor at Columbia) and Orthodoxy. So having read this, having been brought up in the Catholic faith, having been taught that women's roles differ from men's yet are both equal in dignity, observing the ways in which my employer family interacted with each other, and standing solitarily in a laundry room for hours upon hours (ten or more hours a day sometimes), being paid to play with children and teach other women how to bake, my head was left in a mess of thoughts which have been bubbling around in my brain which has been too busy to give them enough time yet.




When I came back to school, I was met with happy faces and lovely people who knew "the perfect guy" (who turned out NOT to be so) to set me up with! Yay! NOOOOOOOO!!!! As much as I am unopposed to the idea being dated and eventually married, I am dreadfully opposed to the idea of hooking up with someone just because no one is dating me now. Dating is not a game or an experiment; I am not a toy or an object (neither is any man). As I said in discussion with someone who said that dating is overrated, quite the opposite is true: dating is horrridly under-rated. Dating should not be thought of as a social activity, but as a step on the road to holiness- one that should be tread carefully and willfully, not playfully and at whim. SO, with this added to the last paragraph, my head has been absolutely full of thoughts to the point of explosion, I think- to the point of forgetting that I have paper for which I have yet to read due, anyway. For all of my loudness, quite a bit of my thoughts never come out audibly.


I have read a lot of 19th century American literature written by women (Alcott, Montgomery, Lovelace...) and I have been reading it since I was ten. Every girl should read this stuff. The role of a woman was clearly and intellectually defined- in no way was she ruled or lorded over by her husband; she was his helper and he was her support. She wasn't supressed or uneducated- even women who had never been to school had common sense and wit. Mrs Baehr (my hero- Jo March from Little Women - she married professor Baehr) ran a school, wrote books, and founded a college all while raising 10 boys and 2 girls and running her household. Of course, her household did include a couple of maids, but she ran the household and she did most of the work. A woman's role was not only clearly defined, but unquestionably held in high esteem. Especially (and I see this now, looking back; it wasn't quite so clear when reading it before I knew that I was looking for role models) the role of a married woman- of a wife and a mother.


This was only the foundation (not even really foundation, but it was indeed a big help for me) of my understanding of womanhood. What really set this in stone was watching my own mother. Well, being apprenticed to my mother... By the time I was ten, my mother had taught me enough that I could cook dinner, clean it up, do laundry, mop floors, clean bathrooms, and take care of babies (now I was ten, so I couldn't take care of babies like I can now, but I knew enough to be a "second mother" when Daniel was born). By the time I was twelve, I was cooking dinner regularly and by the time I was fourteen, I was pretty much in charge of dinner. I was a lucky little girl. I came to this conclusion over the summer while giving a "bread making seminar" and being asked by an eight year old (or maybe it was the six year old) "you mean, you can make bread?"



Going from my family to my employer family was a huge shock. I knew that women do not all care for their homes the same way and that some don't even care for them, but I had never lived in a household where just common sense housekeeping was absent. The woman fed her animals (of which she had plenty, something like 8 dogs and 4 cats) a raw diet. She would take the meat out of the freezer, leave it on the cutting board while she prepared dinner (so it was there a few hours), after chopping the meat, she would rinse the cutting board off and cut vegetables on it. I realized that most of the things that I took for granted that everyone just sort of knew were apparently not so well known: things like not leaving a sippee cup full of milk in the sink overnight because it will sour and smell bad and if it gets in the plug thingy can make baby sick; things like how to wash dishes (not with cold water...); how to hold a spatula while stirring batter; the simple fact that bread can be made at home; how to creatively make an entirely different meal out of leftovers instead of serving the same thing two or three times a week.



I was hired to iron clothes. The family consists of of the parents, a 16 year old girl, 15 year old boy, and 8 year old boy, and little girls aged 6, 4, and 2. The 16 year old girl was completely lost when it came to housework. She had never been taught to do laundry, wash dishes, or cook, and despite having four young siblings, she had no clue how to interact with little kids. I never once saw her hug her little siblings- only reprimand them.

As I stood in the laundry room amidst piles of clothes day after day after day, I remembered my old friends with worn covers. I remembered how the women would teach thier daughters that the mundane work (which was a lot more mundane in the 1800's) was a labor of love, beneficial to to the lover and the loved (whether this be son or husband, daughter or mother, sibling or friend). All of this was reaffirmed by reading Home Comforts in which Mrs. Mendelson not only explains the technical and practical things about housekeeping, but the reason why: out of love; love for yourself, and your spouse and your kids (if you have those things...).


John Paul II wrote that God has entrusted the world to women in a very special way because our femininity. Women are the nuturers of the moral and physical well being of society (so are men but in a very different- women are responsible for making the men responsible...). The old and over-used but very true saying that "behind every good man is a good woman" demonstrates the need for women to be women. I hear women complain about how guys act all the time. Perhaps if more women acted like women should (which does NOT mean a bare-foot and pregnant houswife), then more men would act like men should.


Perhaps this makes a little bit of sense. Perhaps I'm just rambling and confused and tired. Perhaps Dr. Hartmann is right and my biggest aspiration in life is to be a charwoman.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Things I Have Learned From My Brothers

That pyromaniacy starts with candles.

That ‘family sized’ means “there’s a whooole heap of them”

“We have here two legs, two wings and two thighs.” “Um…Cat… What you have is a hollow chicken.”

Awesomeness is measured by the volume of your belch. Or how much you know about trucks. Or demolition. Or how much you can eat. Or how many mouth noises you can make.

On the other hand, (and this is why it’s great to be a girl) awesomeness is measured by how good dinner was and how big a hug a boy can get after scaring the life out of you. Or by the fact that you can fix a favorite shirt. Or because you can pick up a ten year old, who in turn, can pick you up.

Success is measured by how dirty you are at the end of the day.

“The ancient Egyptians didn’t use the bathroom!” Oh, but they did. If you’re human, you use the bathroom….” Well, they didn’t have toilets. How do you use the bathroom without a toilet?” (Of course, they had flushable toilets, but he’s 4)

Never is only about 3.2 seconds.

Forever is only about 2.6 seconds.

Irish drinking songs are the best for car rides. It sure beats singing “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” with someone who can’t count.

There’s nothing better than watching a four foot construction fall to the ground with a crash.

There’s nothing worse than watching a four foot construction fall to the ground with a crash.

Humour is defined by how hard the other guy hits the ground.

Who needs discretion when you have an ER?

Reasonable is questionable.

Never think first. That will only stop you. You will never find out if umbrellas can really carry you gently to the ground from the roof if you first ask yourself “is this dangerous?” or “would Mom approve?” Always remember: it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. Especially when dealing with women.

It’s always lunchtime. (Indeed, it is!)

If you run into a wall accidentally, the best thing to do is to run into to it again.

“Push Dom, and Dan falls”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crystal Clear Confusion and a History of me That Isn't Mine at All... What to do next?

Six years ago, my sisters and I needed Music/Art credit for high school. I know the most about music in my family (which isn't saying much) so just thinking about how we were going to get that credit made my mother cringe. My mother's friend, Mr. Mark, for future reference, has a Ph.D. in Medieval Liturgy (and a couple of other things) and had wanted to start a Children's Schola for a while. So he did. And we got our credit.

The choir was a God-send to me. Quite literally, though I had no clue of that at the time. It gave me an outlet which was desperately needed and a foundation which I didn't even know was being built. I had always loved music. That I loved chant was no surprise to me, probably not to anyone else either for that matter. I had been singing in the choir at Mass since I was 6 or 7. Hmm. In retrospect, that in general, is probably not a good idea (especially since the choir sat to the side of the altar, not in a loft) but I think it was good thing for me. Maybe that sounds high strung or concieted; it isn't meant to, but children should probably not be allowed to do that- I was - it was a good thing for me. I wouldn't let my kid do that. But now the history and theory of chant was being explained to me and it made me love it even more.

We were taken to a Chant conference in Auburn, AL (the same one I took people to in Feb.) where I met Dr. William Mahrt, professor of Music History at Stanford; Mr. Scott Turkington, Choir Master and Organist for St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in (Jill, I love you) Stamford, Conneticut- the man has his own Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Turkington - Mr. Jeffery Tucker and Mrs. Arlene Oost-Zinner from Auburn ( http://www.ceciliaschola.org/ ).

On an impulse, I applied to Southern Catholic College. On an impulse, I applied for a music fellowship- mainly chant, because that's what I know best. Impulsiveness... not a great thing- but God uses all things and He definitely used that. As soon as I sent off the package, I realized what I had done. I regretted it. I got the acceptance letter. I visited the school.

At the end of February, I went to Auburn for the annual conferrence. On the second day, my mother called me and told me that the fellowship letter had come. I had gotten it. My first thought was "oh dear. what have I gotten my impulsive self into now? I am such an idiot." My second thought was "Well, there's not a better place I could have found out..." I managed to catch Mr. Turkington and speak to him for a minute to ask his advice. He, of course, was very excited and made a big deal out of it. He gave me the Graduale Romanum, a book I had been wanting for ages and costs in between $50 and $60 but has to ship from France. He gave me many good tips and lots of encouragement- which I really needed. He also told me about a program at Catholic U that I should go to.

The course at Catholic U was too expensive for me. I emailed the professor to see if scholarships were offered and he told me that he would pay for me to take it. I just needed to get there and find a place to stay. My mother's friend's best friend lives in D.C. She arranged it so that I could stay with her. Somehow, and I have no idea how, I managed to come up with enough money to get there. So I went to D.C. for a three week summer intensive course in Gregorian chant pedagogy, where I learned an incredibly amazing amount of things, thanks to Fr. Skeris. The final was conducting a peice for a Mass in the crypt of the Basillica. Just a small, private Mass, but by the end, there were probably 100 or more people gathered around to hear it.

While I was in D.C., met even more people and ran into people I knew already- Mr. Turkington, who was teaching another class there; and Mrs. Oost-Zinner, who was in my class (kind of interesting: there were nine people in my class and three were from Alabama).

This summer, I honestly thought I was not going to be able to afford to go back to SCC. No, I WAS not going to be able to afford to go back. But Dr. Combee- God bless him!- fixed that. The problem was not paying- the problem was loans. I do not want to come out with more than the $5000 debt that I already have. I would much rather take a semester off and work than take more loans. I'm majoring in Literature and Theology and- this sounds kind of silly- but really, I've never actually wanted to do anything except be a mom and study. I like studying. I can see myself in school for a while. And so can lots of people who know me. But since I am a girl, and there is a possibility that I could get married and become a stay at home mom, I just don't think it's a good idea to take loans. Plus, even if I don't get married, I don't think it's a good idea to take loans. Nothing I have any interest in pays enough to justify that; they barely pay enough to survive. So Dr. Combee made it where I pay more than I did last year, but have no loans(he was actually going to give me loans, but I didn't take them). Then I realized that last semester, I was working 17 hours a week- not ten- and had not thought about that when saying I could pay that much. I was really kind of upset and worried about it. Then Mrs. Debell called. And I'll be working 19 hours a week, plus minimum wage went up.

That things have so providentially worked out for me is scary. Very scary. When I was kid and even still now sometimes, things just never worked out. I just stopped hoping for things, eventually. I never once this summer hoped. I didn't give up, but I didn't expect or hope that things would work out. And then I get this? It's like ... I deserve a slap and get a kiss. Then, of course, there is the whole Luke 12:48 thing. What's expected of me? What if I fail? I received an email the other day: "The Lord places us and points in directions which he knows are best for us....Please remember that you are a part of a community of musicians and other churchmen who are committed to a restoration of the liturgy in our time, and that you may call on us when you are in need of help, advice or just a friendly voice." They consider me one of them. How very intimidating. These people have known and studied Chant for years, under the most impressive teachers: Dr. Marier, The choirmasters of Solesmes, the list goes on. And they think that I am an able and promising Church musician? (So they have said). I am overwhelmed when I think of this. I'm just an 18 year old college student with not a lot of musical training. I know I've been given this training that I have, these people that I know, and the experiences I've had for a reason, and yet I have no idea what it is.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

SO... I made Pizza and have no One to Eat it with...











Anyone want to eat with me?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Lightening Is One of Nature's Deadliest Killers"

I don't think that has anything at all to do with anything in this post. The weatherman said that tonight on the news and it amused me- probably more than it should. I'm sooooooo bored and isolated!


A List Of Things That We Need To Do Next Semester

Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Watch Second Hand Lions
Watch the Rest of the Stars Wars Movies
Find Out if ChezWhiz Does or Does Not Come Out of a Turkey Baster
Speaking of that, we should also find an oven that we (I) can use occasionally...
Jump in the Pool Again
Feed the Mutant Fish a Basketball
Go to Amicalola Falls
Have a Flour Fight
Have a Waterballoon Fight
Have a Flour Fight and Waterballoon Fight Simultaneously
Have a Picnic on a Public Elevator

I know there are more things.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Importance of Beautiful Music

Preface
This started out as a rant and became an essay. It is quite obvious that music is my first love. I am leaving the ranting part in mostly because I am having a hard time trying to rewrite it into essay form. It does make sense, I think. I will explain my outrage at cantors, though.

This post was inspired by the Mass I went to Sunday. There was no cantor. There was no choir. Until the offertory, there was no organist. This was an improvement. Normally, at this Mass, there is a cantor. A female cantor who can sing loudly, very loudly. I feel bad saying it, but she doesn't sing well at all. In fact, I have heard conversations between parishioners who have said that her singing is distracting it's so bad. Sometimes, she harmonizes during the responsorial psalm. It just sounds awful. They seem to think it is beautiful. Sometimes, the choir tries to perform polyphonic pieces, but because of the size of the choir (about 6 or 7 maybe) and the ability of the choir, it does not sound good either. I'm not sure if it's the cantor or the choir, but for some reason, most of the people in the pews do not sing. This Sunday, however, when all we had was the organ, the congregation sang. And sang well. I also noticed that it is not because they don't know the music that they don't sing. They sang the music that they knew, not the music that was written in the hymnal. (The hymn was “Hail Redeemer King Divine.” The hymnal producers had changed some of the music due to copy right laws.) I also think that besides being unnecessary for the most part, cantors tend to think of the Mass as their performance, not as a prayer.

SO, enjoy!

I don't know whether it's more the arms waving or the vibrato booming over the sound system, but you, my dear cantor, are intimidating. And, for the most part, unneeded. There is only one time that I can think of during the entire Mass (if English is the only language being used) that you are doing something useful; and, unfortunately (for you, that is, anyway), even then, there is a way around you.

You see, there is this novel idea of a choir: a group of people, who have some musical talent, who sing (from the back of the church, preferably), so that the congregation can follow. (*Please note that there is in an "in most cases" application of this argument; sometimes, the congregation should not be lead in singing, but the singing of the choir should lead them to pray silently. The Mass is the prayer of Church; hymns are prayers; when the congregation does sing them, they are praying; when the choir is singing a sixteenth century polyphonic [translated literally as "many sounds;" usually soprano, alto, tenor, and bass- every voice sings a different part and through the laws of harmony and dissonance, an awesome {in the most literal sense of the word} piece of music is created] piece, and the congregation listens, they are still praying. However, not every choir is able to pull such polyphony off. Though it is not as difficult as one would think, it does require time; and since most parish choir members are volunteers, it difficult to even get one hour of practice a week. It also requires musical ability [read: people who can sing decently, not even the ability to read music]. I can personally attest to the fact that polyphonic music can be done by amatures [look at me] and children. Children? Yes. Ordinary children with no knowledge of music. But, as I said, the volunteer status of the average parish choir is quite an obstacle for this type of music.)

No embellishment is better than too much embellishment. Too much embellishment looks foolish; none looks practical. No embellishment is not synonymous with "ugly". Something can be plain and beautiful at the same time. In fact, the very first music of the Church was simple. But beautiful. Some of it is still used today; partly, because it is beautiful; partly, because it is simple.

This doesn't mean embellishment is bad. It simply means that when embellishing, one should use discretion. It would be silly for a woman to embroider a perfectly lovely wedding gown using colored yarn because she has no embroidery thread . Likewise, it would be silly for her to spend hours upon hours embroidering a cloth that is going to be used as a grease rag.

Just because a choir can sing polyphony well, does not meant that they should sing polyphony for everything. Sometimes only simple things are needed or fitting. Sometimes, no embellishment is a reminder of what is happening in the Liturgy. And just because because polyphonic music would be proper or preferable for certain parts of the Mass, a choir should not use it if it is beyond their capabilities. There are other ways to create a lovely sound that, while not as magnificent, is just as fitting. There is really only one aesthetic requirement that music at Mass must meet: that it be beautiful. This is because, as Pope Benedict XVI says, beauty “enables us to experience the presence of God.”


Here one may say "but beauty is subjective." I answer: not quite. Beauty is defined as by Webster's dictionary as "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit." Yet again one might say, “what exalts individual minds or spirits is subjective.” I answer: not true.


That which is the highest Good is God. The ultimate goal of every man is (or should be) to reach the greatest Good. Man cannot reach Good without goodness; man's spirit cannot be lifted to the highest Good by something that is not good. Because of the nature of “good” something cannot be good and not lift man's spirit to God, even if man does not realize that his spirit is being lifted. This is why beauty is not subjective. But, because of sin, beauty can be perverted but still seem beautiful. A prime example of this is human sexuality. I am not saying that human sexuality is beauty perverted. Human sexuality is wondrously beautiful when it is not used in a perverted fashion. It fulfills the requirement of lifting the soul to God. But when a man (or a woman) uses his sexuality in any way other than that which was intended, it no longer lifts his soul; in fact, it drags his soul away from God, yet, it still can be mistakenly perceived as good.


The same is true of music. St. Augustine said, “Music, that is the science or the sense of proper modulation, is likewise given by God's generosity to mortals having rational souls in order to lead them to higher things." Beautiful music lifts the soul to God. Here I could go on for pages about how some music is not beautiful and does not lift man's soul. In fact, I have done so before (in a paper for Dr. Urbanczyk) but it is not immediately pertinent to this, so I will resist the temptation. You have been spared.


Since the Mass is the highest form of worship, should an effort not be made by musicians (whether they have been trained or not) to provide the most beautiful music they can? And since beauty is not entirely subjective, should they not make an effort to train themselves (and others) to be able to determine whether music is beautiful or not?



Music at Mass should not be haphazardly put together. Music at Mass should not be chosen on the basis of “I like this” but on the basis of how beautiful it is. This analysis is not based solely on the composition of the music, but also on the lyrics, the composition and the lyrics combined (a song of exultation should not sound like a dirge), and the presentation. While musicians should most certainly not think of the Mass as their performance, they should be aware of the sound of their music and able to judge whether or not it is beautiful. A choir should not present music that is not as beautiful as they can make it. Or music that they cannot make beautifully. Beautifully does not mean perfectly. But it does mean that careful attention has to be paid so that it does not sound ugly.


Music that is not beautiful detracts from the grandeur of the Mass. If music is detracting from the grandeur of the Mass then it is ineffective, and sometimes, deleterious to the soul.

Monday, June 04, 2007

'The Time Has Come', The Walrus Said, 'to Talk of Many Things; of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax, of Cabbages and Kings, of why the Sea is Boiling Hot and Whether Pigs Have Wings'

I'm going to warn you all right now: there are no segues in this post. It's a bunch of random stories that I would tell you if I could followed by my random thoughts. I did spend about ten minutes trying to think of some segues but I couldn't. And you know if I can't, then are most certainly not any.

The other day, Dominic, 4, came to me and said "I need to tell you my dream but you have to promise not to tell anyone" (He has since released me from this). Poor little fellow. He had a dream that he was being chased by the devil. But then all of a sudden, the Waltons came out of nowhere with real, working life savers (light sabers) and chased the devil away. Funny the things little kids think of when they are asleep.

The other day at WalMart, (which, our new one looks exactly like the one in Dawsonville. I go there and I don't feel like I'm in Alabama anymore. I always expect to run into people from school and instead, run into people from my childhood. Most of the time, I am extremely disappointed.) Anyway, I was really thirsty, so Carolynne and I went to go get some waters. I wanted at least three because there were five of us. I was plannning on getting five but... The (cheapest) machine that I wanted to use didn't take dollars and that was all I had, so I put my money into one machine to get the change. After I got the change, I put 50 cents in and pressed the button.Nothing happened. All of the buttons, succesively, still nothing. I pressed the coin return button. Nothing. So I banged the side of it. Way harder than I thought I had. Just as the WalMart greeter lady was walking by. Recived evil looks from her. I was so thirsty, though, that I was by now, willing to pay 65 cents more for the same amount of water. So I bought two and put the third dollar in. SOLD OUT flashed across the little screen. I hit the coin return button and heard clink clink clink clink but saw nothing. What would you do at this point? I knelt down and looked in the slot, saw my money, stuck my finger in to let it loose and out came six or seven dollars worth of quaters. SO i took it the greeter and held up both of my hands (one full of quaters, the other with four in it) and said "the machine gave me way too much change"
"oh, ok, how much too much?"
"this much"
OH, well let me take it to the service desk
well there's still more in the machine
oh, really?
yes, see? (by this time, we had walked to the machine and I had knelt down and unloosed about five more dollars worth)
well, thank you, I'll let the service desk know about this. did you loose your money in the Sam's machine?
well, yes
how much?
fifty cents
you should go see the service desk
oh, no, it's not that big of a deal
no, you really should, they give you your money back
but by this time, I had spent at least five minutes at the drink machines, more time than I had spent in the store, and there were people waiting in the car for us. The lady, while trying to convince us to go to the service desk, had leaned her hand gently on the Sam's machine and as we started to walk away we heard BALUMP clink clink. The Sam's machine spit out my water. AND my change. I felt like I was in an Aesop's Fable.

The other day, someone knocked on our door, using the knocker. RC is the only person in the history of our living here who has ever used that. We were expecting him, so when the knocker knocked, my younger two sisters yelled "YOU CAN NEVER COME HERE AGAIN!" and "GO AWAY< WE DON'T WANT YOU HERE!" while they opened the door. There stood an aunt we hadn't seen in oh, five years and my grandmother. Boy were they surprised.

My dad is now in Nebraska. I think he likes it. I talked to the financial aid people. You know, I think the word "aid" should be removed from their title. Financial Status people would be more fitting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Lesson in Southern Speak Because I Miss English

"thow" - Throw

"yo mane" - not an accidental mispronouncitation of Lo Mein, it means "you're mean"

"cream taters" - mashed potatoes

"are they?" - this does not necessarily refer to people. It doesn't even have anything to do with the the pronoun "they" - it's used instead of "are there"

richair- right there

richairyonder; richonder; richonderdare- right over there

Groshy - grocery

pelluh- pillow

aintcha- aren't you

ainta- aren't I

pess- past

bane- bean

caint- can't

Doe- door

seed- saw

tooah- to have (he like tooa fell...[trans] simply- he almost fell... literally, he was about to have fallen)

hain't - haven't or don't, depending on the usage

ate- eat; eat is pronounced et

pays- peas

And the phrases these people use!

hain't got none noways.
trans. I haven't any, anyway. or: I don't have any, anyway.

hain't never done nothin/went nowhere
Trans. I haven't ever done anything/ been anywhere

They use... double double negatives or something. Double negative doubles? Negative doubles? Like double sharps in music. It really very sad.

I have to translate in order to understand them. It's insane.
Please, someone, reassure me that there is a place out there where people speak English instead of this!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

but at when at first, for i read it as nabob.

That, Brian, is what I originally typed on your wall. It was one of the very few times that I actually looked up to check and see if I had made any major typos. I don't really know exactly what I was thinking when I composed that part of the sentence, but even I couldn't understand it. It amused me and I thought about leaving it, but I decided against that. I could see you making the dissappointed face that Kristen always talks about. I thought it would entertain some of you, though so that's why I put here (despite the dissappointed look). I think that being roommates with Jill and then coming back to Alabama has been a bad thing for me. I think it's mostly the Alabama part. I mean, at least "at-here-food-place" made some sort of sense. Perhaps, I'm just really tired. My day did start at 5:30am and almost all of my days now start at 6:30am- 7:00am; I litterally dream about next semester when my earliest class is at 10:40. Ah, bliss!

Oh, but what a day! it was "take Dad to the airport day" where he would catch a plane from Birmingham to Houston at 8am, then fly from Houston to Tulsa, from Tulsa to Salt Lake City, and from Salt Lake City to Billings, Montana where his boss would be waiting to pick him up and drive him 200 miles to Sheridan, Wyoming. SO we got there in plenty of time, went to the desk that the itenerary said to go to, where he waited for fifteen minutes and then was told "this is the wrong desk". After crossing the airport to the correct desk and waiting there for ten minutes, he was told "this flight has been overbooked... but I think you can still get a seat," which took another ten minutes or so. Then it was time for security check. In a line that streched from the security check point to the Continental ticket counter, which, unless you've been to the Birmingham airport, is worthless information to you, so think of it as from...Villa 1 to Villa 6. Quite long for Birmingham. Of course, his flight was called while he was in the line. He had just passed the ID taker woman. So my mother went to the Continental counter and asked if there was any way they could make sure the plane didn't leave. Next thing I knew "Could Continental passenger ______ please come to the ticket counter" was blaring over the loudspeaker. Turns out, the flight was full and they had locked it so he wouldn't have been able to get on anyway. The ticket people were really nice though, they tried so hard to get him on that plane. They spent twenty minutes trying to find a flight that wasn't booked with continental. They had to send him on Northwest. But this way he only had to fly BHM to Memphis, Memphis to Minneapolis, and Minneapolis to Billings. Unfortunately, the connecting flight from Minneapolis was delayed an hour so he's still somewhere in the air. My poor father.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Boys, You Shouldn't Leave Fishing Lures in Your Pockets

They get caught in the little wholes in the washer and it takes twenty minutes to unhook them. And they rip your sisters' jeans.

I watched Spider Man Three again yesterday. It made me miss you guys. But the commentaries of little people were funny.

"It's dark in here. Really dark. Like it was in the tomb."
"What tomb?"
"You know, umm, Jesus' tomb."

"is love wonderful?"

"When are they going to make a movie where Spider Man looses? This is getting too predictable."


It wasn't quite as bad the second time. But I'm still of the opinion that it tried for cheesy and failed. Cheese is good. This was like fake cheesy. Like velveeta or worse, kraft singles. Although, this time I did manage not to laugh because Tobey Maguire can't cry. And I saw the lady on the stage do the head thing. Ha. But if I were to write a review it be: "Spiderman Three: A Film to Sleep Through." That's what I did both times. Although, I slept through different parts of both times. But I really liked the film's music.

Then we went to a friend's house and I spoke to Lauren for a long time. (Which sounds awfully rude but it wasn't. They have a very spoiled only daughter who won't saty by herself and they were out and it was raining and my parents went out with her parents and so the 7 of us were there). And then we came home and the others watched The Illusionist which made me miss you guys even more.

Sometimes I wish I had never studied music or theology. It's sad to me what happens at Mass in many places. NEWSFALSH: The Mass is not about us.

WHAT? You're kidding me! We're Christ's body! We're the Church! We're all one huge family (and totally NOT dysfunctional, never) We this and we that. Gather US in, WE are the light of world, I come here...

Besides that fact that the music is at best hard for a congregation to sing and slipshod, the words are at best vague about the truths of the faith. More often than not they can be interpreted heretically. In the words of C.S. Lewis, they are "fifth-rate poetry set to sixth-rate music." Unfortunately, these songs have become the norm, the norm of ignorance: ignorance of the history and purpose of sacred music, ignorance of the nobleness, beauty, and awesomeness of the Mass, and hence, ignorance of the Catholic faith and of God.

In the "spirit of Vatican II" composers and those that call themselves liturgists or liturgical musicians, in an effort to get the congregation more invovled, have accomplished the exact opposite; they have repulsed and silenced the congregation. The voices booming (or squeaking, or squalking)through the microphones are the only ones that are heard. (And sadly, most of them are not worth hearing.)

Many of the musical compostions for the English translations of the Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are confusing and hard to learn. Music should inform the listeners of the "attitude" of the lyrics. The Gloria is not a dirge; it should not be sung like one. The Agnus Dei is a plea for mercy, not a happy little ditty about us. Today at Mass the Lamb of God was very peppy; my four year old brother bounced up and down to keep time. It was also very hard to sing. It jumped octaves! In the middle of a syllable! Twice! In the same syllable. There were many trills and embellishments. It did not fit the words at all.

The Mass is not our weekly free hour of entertainment. My job as a musician is NOT to perform. (This is very hard for many musicians to understand; don't even get me started on cantors.) My job as a musician is to help souls worship by singing or playing music that is fitting for the Mass; music that by its very nature and its compostion allows the soul to hear God's goodness and majesty reflected. It is better to have no music at all than to have a concert. The music should not be distracting to the congregation. The quality of the music should not distract (or annoy) the congregation. If you can't find a decent number of people who sing decently to be in the choir, then don't have a choir at all. The chorus setting of your electric organ should not come on in the middle of the Gloria, scaring people and causing them to look up in the choir loft and see what happened while drowning out the complicated melody making any attempt to sing it futile.

The words, too, are supposed to mean something. I, personally, cannot figure out what meaning "Gather us In" and "All are Welcome" have except to give ourselves a pat on the back. The Servant Song? I just don't get it. Let's come to Mass and sing songs about how great we are. Oh wait, the congregation doesn't sing anymore. Wonder why...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Did you know that a Rat smells in "3d"?

I didn't. Apparently, their sense of smell is thousands of times better than ours. It's funny what little minds are curious about. That was Dan's question: "how far do rats smell." Dom's was "what's in a nose." My question is why would anyone care how far a rat can smell enough to do scientific research to find the answer. And why does it matter?

These are the kind of things that I miss when I am in Georgia.

I finally got to cook! Tommorow I clean. I've read three books just because. I've put little ones to bed and played their favorite songs on the piano. (This is quite an accomplishment since almost anytime i play, someone says "STOP!") I feel a little less out-of-place when I do these things. Although it's hard not to out of place when you sleep on couch, have no where to call your own space (I did not realize how important this was to me) and are living out of a suitcase in the place you used to call home...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Just Things

More appropriately, Simply Things or perhaps even Random Things since this has absolutely nothing to do with things have the virtue of justice. Just... things.

I think I upset my mother today. It's kind of hard to tell through text. Curses upon rude guys in trains! The only sane person where we live (my mother's best friend) may be moving to Michigan. So it'll be pretty lonely for my mother if they do (the family). It's a sad thing when Christians stop acting like Christians. Perhaps that's a confusing statement given that you don't know the context, but it's a long story. So it's not a happy thought that they'd be moving away. She said something along the lines of being really selfish for not wanting that to happen. I said that I hope it isn't because I'm pretty much in the same boat, only mine is more of an everyone else will be here and I'll be stuck in Alabama. I told her that I might go talk to Combee or Ashcroft (I'm leaning more towards Combee, other people have said Ashcroft) and she got upset. I think it bothers her that I would HAVE to stay there. And that she can't help me out anymore than she is (which is a lot, especially considering all circumstances). It would be pretty heartless of me to come, though, if I don't get more aid. I don't want to stay there. Anyway, it made sad that it upsets her that much. She'll barely talk to me about it except to say that I shouldn't be worrying about it and to concentrate on my work. I'm NOT worried about it. Sad, yes (especially since there is no Fall Break next semester). Worried, no. Whatever happens happens. Not to sound... whiny? but, I'm pretty used to having things not work out the way I want them to (and I have been way more homesick than I ever have been [considering that I've NEVER been homesick] and there has to be a reason for that...). Anyway, I'm sure you guys are tired of hearing about this so I'll try and refrain from bringing it up again. But it is kind of difficult.

On to better, brighter things.

My brother is going to have his First Communion on May 6th! This is my Danny-Boy so I'll get to be there, which makes me happy. I miss him and Carolynne a lot. I think that when I go home, Carolynne and I are going to live in the house that our family doesn't live in. It was built in the 30's and is about 20square feet. Ok so that's exaggerating in the opposite way that exaggeration normally implies. But it is pretty small. We were using it as a screen printing shop but we're going to fix it up to where it's live-able and She and I are going to live in it. With Isadora. The hamster.

Did I tell any of you that we got a hamster? Apparently, we did. I'm told it's cute. Speaking of cute, I'm still waiting for them to send me pictures of the duck that speaks goose. Whose name is not Chick or Fritter. It's Flip. and the other's name was Twitter. But Dominic got mixed up when he was telling me. Speaking of Dominic, did I ever tell you guys that at one point, he had 16 different nick names? Everyone called him something different and he answered to all of them. IF the right person called him the right name. It was insane. I'm surprised he didn't have some sort of identity crisis. He enjoyed it, though.

David is going to be 10 on Saturday! It's hard to believe. He's almost as tall as I am though. I think he comes up to my ears. He's going to be one big guy.

Time for class.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ah, yes

Today, I had lunch with Dr. Urbanczyk! And Dr. Bruce, but he doesn't get an exclamation point. Although, I think he no longer doesn't like me and I have decided that I like him, but not his oddities. Emily Looney thinks I'm absolutely crazy. (That actually wasn't random, believe it or not; she ate lunch with us) I can't deny it. But she is, too.

ANYWHOO...
You missed it, Brian. We totaly got Dr. Urbanczyk off on a tangent about Wal-Mart. It was great. But then we were reading the little thingamabobbers on the table- the activity thingy- and on it, it says "Bettie Seller's John Kay" and Anthony asked one of them who that was and Dr. Bruce was telling us that they are colleagues and coming to speak about a Georgian poet-laureate (did I get that right?). At which point I said "Oh! There's not supposed to be an apostrophe there and there should be a comma between them. I thought it was a novel she'd written or something." And neither of the Doctors had realized that. So Dr. Bruce said "Yes, she's a ventriloquist and John Kay is her dummie's name" So he and Dr. Urbanzcyk (and all of us) laughed about it for a little while until Dr. Bruce said "Yes, I have to introduce them. I've been wondering how I was going to do that. I think that's how I should". Dr. Urbanczyk thought this was hilarious. I thought it was pretty funny, too. I was like "that would be great" and Dr. Urbanczyk said "Yes, that would be highly entertaining."


Dr. Bruce was pretty funny today in class. I felt bad that I had to leave so many times. I felt bad for the person sitting next to me as well...

I thought I was going to die this morning. I seriously could not breathe. It's really fun to wake up at 4 am unable to breathe. You should all try it one day. I highly reccommend it. Most fun I've had in years.

O.k. that was really lame, but hey, what do you expect from me? I'm tired, anyway. Let me submit to you that tiredness isn't great for writing intelligible things. Just ask Dan. I don't want to go class. I think I might fall asleep. Why am I so tired. I'm confused. But tomorrow's Saturday. I don't think I've eaten an actual meal all week. Just salads. Why won't they make Chicken Parmagan? I miss eating meat. Sorry Amy. But meat is good.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

(PLEASE DON'T READ THIS, JILL, YOU WILL NOT BE HAPPY AT ME)

Spring Break is almost over and I'm not entirely ready to return. I miss you guys, but I am actually liking being here. That's new feeling. I honestly don't think I've been happy to be here in nine years. I'm absolutely serious about that (yeah, i know i'm only 18, but that is a carefully thought about statement and I'm pretty sure it's accurate). I've been saying that i was ready to get out of this hell of a town (well sort of a town...) for at least five years. So I guess it's nice to just enjoy being here.

This week certainly calmed some of my fears about my extended summer. I'm almost positive that this will happen and the funny thing is, I'm really not that depressed about it any more. Certainly, I'll miss school like crazy. I can't imagine how much I'll miss you guys. And that thought is depressing. Very depressing. More than depressing, but I don't know the right word for it. But I'm not depressed about having to spend seven months here anymore. I'm sure that I won't like it. I know it'll be exteremly difficult come the end of August when my sister goes back to Ave and I stay here missing you guys, missing the classes, missing Thursday nights at the Crimson Moon and late night trips to Casa de Waffle, dinners that last an hour and half, bread wars, dancing elephants, Dan playing guitar, laughing in sync with Jill and Lauren, staying in Villa three watching movies until 3am, missing Dr. U's "frigginfragginfrugginfrick" outbursts (thanks, Brian), Dr. Hartmann being Dr. Hartmann, and everything else that I could possibly miss. But, I don't know, somehow this week I've come to peace with the fact that I might be here for a while. I'll have work and, who knows, I might take a few classes at the community college.

I think that I can do this.

See you guys tomorrow night. Well, for most you, I think it's later on today now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kids say the darndest things

They really do.

"Can I have a waffle, Cat? My sugar's low."

"Mom, can I get out of the car?" "No, wait here, I'll just be a minute" "But, Mom, I need to exercise!"

"Why do they call them cheeseboogers?"

"We can't sing that song Cat, it has the 'a' word in it!"
"What??"
"Alleluia"


"What if God tells me to be a priest?"
-"Well, Dom, I guess you'll be a priest."
"No I won't. I'll run away"
-"Like Jonah?"
"Yeah, just like Jonah"
-"What if you get swallowed by a whale?"
"Well, I won't be a priest, then 'cuz I'll be dead!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Isn't this just Loverly?

For some reason the 'Loverly' song from My Fair Lady is Stuck in my head and I'm really happy so it just kind of came out in a song. I've never been this happy to be home. Little kids to take care of, floors to mop, food to cook, laundry to wash, people with colds to look after (not that I wish them sickness...). The only not so grand thing has been the doctor to visit. And by the way, though this comes as no surpirse to any of you, I'm sure, I have been officially diagnosed with asthma and been given perscription drugs to treat it. Maybe (hopefully) you won't have to put up with me hacking in class so much anymore. Hartmann will just have to find something else to tease me about. Shouldn't be too hard...



But back to my wonderful week and the conclusions that it has led me to come to. I have to start at Saturday night at Mass. My four year old brother wanted to sit next to me. After the homily, he decides that he's tired of behaving. I gently tell him "Dommy, stop making noises". He does. For a little while. Then he doesn't want to stand. I pick him up off the pew and set him on his feet. He promptly collapses at my feet (how he managed to not hit his head, I can't figure out. Obviously, he's pretty practiced at this...). Great. I have to leave him. I'm not Mom. He knows that this will cause a scene and Mom is in different pew because, well, there were eight of us and the church was full. Eventually, he slithers onto the pew. Now, it's time for the offertory. He does something really naughty (can't remember what it was) and I told him stop. At this point, he scoots over to my sister, Carolynne and burries his head in her arm. He's really pouting. We're not amused. Until he pops up, looks at my sister, gives her a thumbs up and dashing smile, looks at me, then gives me a thumbs down and the most spoiled rotten youngest child frown he can. Now we're trying really hard not to laugh at him. So we ignore him until the Sanctus when he refuses to kneel. We can't let him just get away with it; it's a spoiled, willful thing and needs to be curbed. So we each grab one arm and hold him up. This really does not make him happy. He squirms. We are forced to let go or he'll scream. (This really is making him sound like a brat. He isn't. He just has sever youngest child syndrome. Yes, Jill. There's a youngest child syndrome. I don't care if you think there isn't. It's probably only because you're a youngest that you can't reconcile yourself to that fact.) So this continues until the sign of peace. When it heightens. The lady who was sitting in front of us (looked JUST like Wanda on Wishbone, only she had blonde hair) patted his hand (because he refused to shake anyone's hand) and he huffed and then wiped his hand off with his other hand while shooting the lady a "please die now" look. Luckily, she was paying no attention whatsoever to him. Ha, Dominic!, someone who ignores you with no trouble at all!! The consecration is his favorite part, so we had no trouble with him then. But afterwards, he started freaking out. “I need Mom, I need Mom” poor guy, he had a cold and now a fever.



On Sunday, my siblings had plans to spend the day at Aunt Holly's and Uncle Frank's. (Aunt Holly and Uncle Frank are on a cruise [so I won't see them :(] and they have a lot of animal that my sister is taking care of for them. They also have a pond. And we have a canoe type boat. [I haven't actually seen it in about oh, 5 or 6 years] My brothers love to fish and have just discovered how to row. And they are learning about the Amazons. And my sister is a writer so she's really good creatively. So, they are some sort of ship crew stranded on some Island or something somewhere. They have a ship's log and everything. It's all very interesting.) Anyway, Mom was doing taxes and I opted to stay home with her and come later. So I spent the entire day (I knew that we really weren't ever going to actually make it over to Aunt Holly's) in the kitchen. Scrubbing. Everything: counters, appliances, and floors. I forget who was there (or not there) when I had the “I miss mopping floors” moment. I know Derek was. He was the only guy there, poor thing. Anywhoo, I finally got to mop the floor. After I cleaned, I cooked! And then the siblings cleaned up dinner. While i was waiting for the others to come home, I flipped through the channels and what did I find but Wishbone. Hadn't seen that in years. And how many times have i had dinner conversations about it? (A lot) And in Villa 3.


Monday absolutely nothing worth taking your time to read happened except that I made chili. Monday night, Dominic was pretty sick with a cold, poor kid. So he decided that he would crawl into my bed. This wouldn't been a problem except that he was coughing in my face, not sleeping, and whining every time I moved. So, I got up to get him some medicine. He freaked out. I waited for him and took him with me. Got him some triaminic or something and he calmed down, went to sleep and didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 7:15. Which is really late for a kid who is normally up at 6 at the latest, saying: “come on, the sun's up, it's a new day, get up” and amazing considering that I woke up at 6:50 to AHHAHEEHHEHEEEEEE from our two brothers who were having a screeching while being tickled contest. I discovered that he talks a lot in his sleep. Actually, he fights with David a lot in his sleep...



So somewhere amidst all the chaotic and non-chaotic moments, I realized how incredibly selfish I've been about the next semester thing. The reason that I decided not to come back without more aid is not because I don't want to come out with a lot of debt (which is true) but the reason I decided not to come back without more aid is because of how unfair and selfish it is of me to expect everyone else in my family to sacrifice so that I can do what I want to do. I can spend four extra months here working so that don't have to worry about finding the money to pay the other half of Cat's tuition or (as in November, December, and January) the entire thing if she can't. They have needs and wants to and for me to come back next semester without more aid would be one of the most ungrateful things that I could do. And I found out that I miss home more than I ever thought I would. I miss being here when the little ones need me or want me or when they discover something new or being able to fix dinner when Mom is tires or mopping the floor or sitting outside listening to all the wild birds and other critters running around here and just thinking. I think that if I don't get more aid, I will be able to resign myself to staying here for a few extra months. I really don't want to but I won't die from it. So if you hear me whining or sighing about it again, feel free to slap me and say “Hello, the world does not revolve around you. Stop bitching about it.”

Friday, March 09, 2007

Have a Really Great Break!

That's all I want to say. Be safe, have fun, relax, and I'll see you all on Sunday! (Probably Sunday night)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ummm

This a pointless and hopefully short post. I'm sitting in the library with 21 minutes (yes, I'm sure of the math) left until class. And abso-freaking-lutely NOTHING to do. At all. I mean, I've done my math homework and my only other class tomorrow is theology 201, so I only have about 10 pages of Exodus to read. And you know me- procrastination is the thing I do best. (Which is why I have my math homework done... figure that one out...)

SO... midterms... they sucked. Yeah. That's about all I can say. Maybe I passed my math test... Holy heck, I have a higher grade in math than I do in philosophy. And lit. And if I get my midterm grades back and math is my highest grade, I think I'm going to be one confused chicka. I guess there's a first for everything??? What a weird first.

In other news, Jack, the goose has hatched his ducklings. But I think you all know that. HEY! IT'S ALMOST SPRING BREAK!!!! Sorry. But I really can't wait to go home. I'm sick of this place. And all of you. Yes. You. But don't worry. I'll miss you by next Sunday. Maybe. But Maybe not. It's a possibilty anyway. And I probably will. I'm actually not sick of you, sick of you, just... tired of this place and need a change.

Somebody else handed me a survey... I have something to do...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

SCC Saturdays

For all their boredom, I rather like Saturdays around here. Well, actually, I like the meals on Saturdays. Not necessarily the food, but the meals. There's a special sense of comradery different than the normal weekday friendliness (or not always so friendly-ness). A kind of "we're stuck here together with nothing better to do so let's talk" mentatlity. Sort of. I'm not really sure that that makes sense. BUT that's ok! You guys know how to translate!


I suppose that I shouldn't just count on other people knowing exactly what I mean. I guess that I should try and start communicating like a normal human being. Although... if other people can figure out what I mean, what's the point? Perhaps I'm not as bad as I think I am. I doubt it though. I know that my siblings and sometimes you guys have had to translate for me. Hmmm. What is the point of this? I don't even know. I've forgotten. I got sidetracked. I did start out with a purpose. Wonder what it was...


I miss my family. It's actually an odd feeling. I was never homesick before this semester. Never. Not when I was puking up my guts in Europe, not when I was navigating D.C. alone for three weeks (which I know is not a big deal, but it was for me at the time; small town Alabama kid alone in the city, a real city, for the first time), not on 4-h trips when I was younger, not last semester. I did miss my family ocassionally, but mostly it was missing staying up talking to my sisters until 1 or 2 in the morning, missing talking to my mother, missing my little Danny-Boy (who is the only person in my life who ever called me Kitty, but he does. I still can't figure out why he does or how he came up with that. It's not like we know anyone else named Kitty. He's also the only person in the world that I tolerate calling me that), missing being able to comfort my little brothers who would cry when they talked to me sometimes. But I never actually wanted to go home. And soon.


Talking to my family only makes it worse. And the fact that I talked to my family after I talked to my aunt and uncle (Aunt Holly and Uncle Frank, the one who makes me salsa and salsa verde; I'll probably mention them again.) who were telling me about how everyone was going to come over there around two (three here). This week, though, everyone also includes Christina, who is home on Spring Break and R.C., who I do NOT dislike. Or hate. In fact, I miss him, too. I really want to go home.


It also doesn't help that all they talk about is how shaken up everyone is down there. While Enterprise is 40 miles from my 'town', it's not like 40 miles to somewhere from where you guys live. People from my town know people from Enterprise. Heck, I know one of the girls that died (not well, but enough [from youth group things and going to Mass at that church]to recognize her picture). People from Opp and Andalusia (the two towns I live between) go to Enterprise on a regular basis. We used to pass through it every Sunday. When my mother was D.R.E., we would go there at least once a month because she had a meeting there. I know people who live across the street from the highschool and others who live near there. And, as much as I hate Alabama, there is a kind of generosity in the people. So all the radio stations are taking calls from people who were in the school, who knew the kids, or who went and volunteered after the tornado hit and letting them just talk on the air.


One of the guys that died had actually made it out of the building. He went back, got a lot of other people out, and then a beam and concrete fell on his neck. The stories about him are amazing to listen to. Ten years and he was never seen without a smile on his face. So it's not an impersonal tragedy, everyone in the rural parts for miles around is affected. Not drastically or anything. But they are in some way affected. If they don't know someone who died, chances are that they know someone who was injured; there were 50 people who were taken to the hospital, 40 serious injuries. Considering that competitions are friendly rivalries, the kids from the schools in my area, probably know kids from that school. I mean, I was homeschooled and knew kids from that school from places other than church.








The last two are St. John's Catholic Church. The others are of the High School.


Back to my homesickness. (yes, I know, no segue [is that how you spell it?])I shouldn't be homesick. I saw my family two weeks ago. But I want to go home. And this is a very new feeling. And slightly depressing because I really don't have a home. I'll be sleeping in my sister's bed (which used to be mine...) and I'll be living out of a suitcase. I'm not sure which is worse: the desire to go home or the knowledge that home is not really home.