Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye to 2010

This ended up being sort of my theme song for 2010, for reasons that would require an incredibly long post. I won't write that post, yet, except to say that posting this is...maybe a little bit defiant, and maybe a little bit hopeful too, that the hardest part is indeed over.

Seven Quick Takes: Christmas traditions edition

Because I'm Catholic, so it's still Christmas.

1. Since my parents were first married, we've always bought a new ornament each. My parents still have the lovebirds they got back in 1986 and hung on their banister because they went back to Ohio for Christmas (ironically, they grew up about 100 miles away from each other, but had to go all the way to San Antonio to meet) and thus didn't put up a tree.

We have so many ornaments now that we don't even put them all up. When I leave I'll get about 30 of my own ornaments and then probably a box of generics.

2. For about 10 years now we've had an Advent wreath. Usually we (attempt to) sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" immediately after we light it.

(Updated to add: Immediately after I started this post, 14 days ago, the Little Man and the Princess were fencing with the candles and broke the pink one into about 5 pieces. No joy for us this Advent.)

3. We put up our Christmas tree on Gaudete Sunday. This has been official for about 10 years, but it developed organically out of an older tradition. You see, my dad's oldest sister's birthday is December 15, and my mom's mom's birthday was December 18. So their respective families used to put up the tree on those respective birthdays. When my parents married they decided to put up the tree the weekend before the weekend before Christmas. Which just happens to be the one dedicated to, you know, rejoicing and stuff.

4. We watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas at some point during Advent, usually when it's on TV. We watch a lot of movies, but this one has a funny story behind it. First: My mom really likes dogs. When she was a little girl and the movie came on the TV, she'd always start sobbing when the Grinch was whipping poor Max up Mount Crumpet. Her sobs kind of dampened the holiday mood, so her mother would tell her to please leave the room until she could control herself. This happened, I think, pretty much every year for my mother's entire childhood. Then she grew up and got married and had children and one day Dad said, "Let's read them How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" And Mom got really upset because didn't he know that's a horrible story?! And he was greatly perplexed. And at some point he coaxed her into sitting down and letting him read it to her. And then a few years later he even got her to sit down and watch the entire movie all the way through to the end, where poor Max gets the last slice of roast beast. (<---Spoiler.) Actually, now that I think of it, the real tradition is finding somebody who hasn't heard the story before and telling them about how Mom didn't watch the end of the Grinch until she was 30 years old.

5. On Christmas Eve, Dad sits us kids down on the couch and we read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Miss Kitty and I are very adamant about this. I have a picture from 2006 of him sitting down and reading it to us. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that means we were 19 and 17. I'm pretty sure he did it in 2007 as well. Then in 2008 we had Teresa, but she didn't pay attention at all.

6. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, because our parents believe in lying to us, instilling a spirit of secularism and greed, and perpetuating evil traditions based on the pagan god Thor. :) We also put out carrots and celery for the reindeer. Dad suggested last year that we didn't need to put anything out because Santa knows where we keep the beer, but I believe Miss Kitty and I held firm on that one as well.

7. We make birthday cake for Jesus. This one started just 2 or 3 years ago. We make carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, because by Christmas afternoon we're well on our way to an excess-induced chocolate allergy attack and need some spicy sweetness to balance it out.

For more quick takes, see Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Background: I call the two protags of the Novel "the boys"

Immediately after revising a bit of dialogue till it crackled:

[7:14:46 PM] Margarita Nivea: I love my boys.

[7:15:00 PM] Philagneia: that's good.

[7:15:00 PM] Margarita Nivea: That's probably horribly...narcissistic, or insane, or something.

[7:15:12 PM] Philagneia: yeah, probably.

[7:15:16 PM] Margarita Nivea: XD

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another random bit of family history

Today, I am exactly the same age as my mother was when she had Miss Kitty.

I am trying not to feel like I'm being an underachiever here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

To my Joseph, on the feast of the Holy Family

I've known the Cobbler for almost 4 years now. (Unbelievably.) When I first met him, that long-ago February day, I was actually afraid of him. Those of you who know him probably find that incredible, and honestly so do I. I thought my level of discomfort around him odd even at the time.

Well, the other day I was pondering it, and it suddenly occurred to me why.

He saw me when I was invisible.

That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but myself, unless some of you also spent most of the first 18 years of your life making invisibility your life goal. To get an idea of the enormity of that meeting, think of that scene in The Incredibles where Violet is watching Tony talk to his friends and then turns invisible the second he looks in her direction. Now imagine that instead of shrugging and walking away, he had struck up a conversation with her as if she was still perfectly visible. As if he was a superhero too and being able to see her was his superpower.

If you can imagine all that, maybe now you can understand why I think the Cobbler is pretty much a superhero.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve

The stockings are stuffed, the presents are piled under and around the tree (having seven people in the house means a LOT of loot--especially since the kids are getting some relatively cheap but giant items). I am sitting here in the glow of the little colored lights, and for a second I can be a child again through them and everything is magical.

Jesus is coming.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I think about at 4 a.m. when I can't sleep

I'm the only female creature in our house who doesn't have a three-syllable name ending in A. Even the cats' names fit this pattern.

(Tammy is Tabitha Michelle, because she's a tortoiseshell tabby. [I thought I was so clever at 13, oh yes.] By rights it should be spelled "Tami," but it's not, so there. Julie was originally just named Jewel after the singer, but then that turned into Julia Rose.)

(Yes, we gave our cats people names. In hindsight I don't think giving people names to animals is such a great idea, but those are their names now.)

(The other names are Rebecca, Andrea, Teresa, and The Bunny's Real Name Which Is Very Googleable.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I think we need a merit badge or something

Miss Kitty and I washed the dishes without being asked today.

Also, an exchange that shows just how much we're catching on:

Me: "I have a job for Andrea if she's ever bored."

Her, not missing a beat: "I'm NEVER bored."

But now she's organizing the tupperware cabinet anyway.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Scatterbrained Chef: Fudge so easy, even I can't mess it up

(This episode heavily inspired by Eagle Brand Festive Fudge. Please note that Eagle Brand is not paying me at all for this. They probably don't know that I exist.)

Step one: Get out the larger of the two little pots. (If you do not have the same set of pots and pans as I do, you can use any pot that holds about 4 cups.)

Step 2: Look for chocolate chips.

Step 3: Find them in the freezer of the kitchen fridge.

Step 4: Be glad you do not have to go out to the garage fridge.

Step 5: Get out two bags of chocolate chips.

Step 6: Dump one of them into the pot.

Step 7: Think about eyeballing the next step.

Step 8: Get out a 1-cup measure instead.

Step 9: Measure 1 cup chocolate chips from the second bag.

Step 10: Get a bread twisty out of the junk drawer and put the half-bag of chocolate chips away in the fridge.

Step 11: Eat a few chocolate chips out of the pot.

Step 12: Open the can of sweetened condensed milk. It is not Eagle Brand. It is probably from Aldi.

Step 13: Very carefully lick the lid--because sweetened condensed milk is good, but you don't want to have to explain to anybody why you have lacerations on your tongue.

Step 14: Dump the can on top of the chocolate chips.

Step 15: Use a spatula to get the rest of the milk out of the can.

Step 16: Lick the spatula.

Step 17: Shake some salt into your hand. Decide that it looks like "a pinch" and toss it in.

Step 18: Turn on the burner. Stuff cooks faster that way.

Step 19: Stir with a large plastic spoon.

Step 20: Eat a peanut butter cookie.

Step 21: Stir some more.

Step 22: Realize that you have a mother on one side of you and a sister on the other, both of them intently watching you.

Step 23: Announce, "If anybody's close enough for me to reach out and smack them, I will."

Step 24: Revel in your newfound privacy.

Step 25: Remember that you need to prepare the pan.

Step 26: Ask your mother if it's okay to use tinfoil in place of wax paper. Get an emphatic no.

Step 27: Use plastic wrap.

Step 28: Stir the fudge some more.

Step 29: When the fudge has turned into a gigantic chocolatey lump around your spoon, turn off the burner.

Step 30: Find the vanilla and adjustable measuring spoon.

Step 31: Reflect on the fact that for some reason you are always forced to use the adjustable measuring spoon when you make fudge.

Step 32: Quickly measure out a teaspoon and a half of vanilla, because if you don't do it fast it leaks under the adjustor and you get more than you bargained for.

Step 33: Toss it in.

Step 34: Lick a drop off your finger. Remember that vanilla extract doesn't taste good.

Step 35: Notice vanilla-scented smoke coming off your fudge and take it off the heat.

Step 36: Stir in vanilla.

Step 37: Turn into plastic-wrap-lined pan.

Step 38: Smooth over with spoon.

Step 39: Lick spoon.

Step 40: Fold over plastic wrap and put pan in fridge to chill.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Liveblogging the shorties

1. Just a minute ago, the Little Man was trying to lasso me. "Hee-ha!"

2. "Now make a belt!" he demands, handing me the string. So I tie it around his waist.

3. Now they are enthralled by The Incredibles, rather than doing interesting and amusing things.

4. Oh, here's something interesting: When the Princess eats a boiled egg (she loves them and can peel them by herself) she only eats the white. Mom just took the shell and yolk away.

5. The "cool" way to drink orange juice is apparently dipping your fingers in the cup and then sucking on them.

6. Revelation: Grilled cheese, it be hot.

7. LP: "We need straw!" Me: "No you don't." LP (going into the kitchen): "Yes we do!" LM: "I need straw too!"

Now I should get up and make sure they aren't playing with knives in the kitchen.

For more quick takes, go to Jen's blog.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So, my body is being very disobedient this week.

You see, my body and I have an agreement. I feed it large quantities of refined sugar and it stays healthy. Since I came to college, I have been more than keeping up my end of the deal, but my body has been totally slacking off.

For instance: On Sunday I developed what seems to be a pinched nerve in my right shoulder. (So far, my strategy has been Taking Ibuprofen and Ignoring It. I have finals, okay, and I really can't write with my left hand.)

Then yesterday I woke up and went to 8:30 Mass with my roommate, and partway through Mass started feeling like death. I continued feeling like death for the ENTIRE DAY, while valiantly attempting to study for my Christian Marriage final. Memorizing stuff is HARD when you have your chin on the desk and are trying to push your glasses up high enough on your nose to still see the computer screen.

On the plus side, I was distracted from the shooting pain in my arm by the dull pain in my entire body.

I got out of my final at 7, puttered around for a bit trying to be productive, and decided at 8:10 that I was just giving up and going to bed.

So I put on my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and was in bed by 8:20. I set my alarm for 5:45 because I wanted to get up and go to 6:30 Mass.

My alarm went off at 5:45, and I sat up in bed and thought "I feel fantastic!"

I am still sick, and my arm still hurts, and right now I could really use a nap, but the fact remains that at 5:45 this morning everything seemed absolutely wonderful.

I am such a morning person.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This could be bad

Scott just told me that I have STATS. I did not know this.

I will not bore you with all my stats. I will just give a shout-out to Jen at Conversion Diary, because apparently about half the people who visit my site come from her. (Most, if not all, because of Seven Quick Takes.)

But very very very few of you comment. Like, 5% of you. Tops.

Obviously, you are all so in awe of my brilliance that you are struck speechless.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Sugar highs, zombies, and getting carded

1. I went home for Thanksgiving, which means I've been on a sugar high for the last 8 days or so. (I came back to school on Sunday, but after 4 days of sugar-high you just have to keep feeding it to fend off the eventually-inevitable crash until after finals...) I blame any and all incoherence on the cake. And pie. And drinking 4 or 5 cans of Sierra Mist (natural! now with REAL sugar!!) in the course of a few days when I almost never drink pop normally.

(Well, I do cut my "orange juice" with pop here in the caf, because I hate the syrupy taste of fake orange juice. But somehow that seems different than straight pop.)

2. While there, I got to see the lovely and brilliant Emily. I also got to see Scott, who has posted again, though he claims that his blog is still dead. I had insane amounts of fun with both of them.

3. I bought wine on Tuesday, and got carded. It was very anticlimactic, though.

(I have no idea what I expected, but the checker just looked bored.)

4. I did get carded in a sense once when I was 19 and buying an R-rated movie (for my grandfather for Christmas; something with Mel Gibson in it). That was much more climactic, since I got all confused and couldn't figure out why she wanted to see my ID and almost forgot to pay in my flustered state.

5. I have never bought cigarettes. Or superglue.

6. My mother got carded the other week, buying beer for Dad.

7. There have been several different occasions in the last 6 or 7 years when people have sworn that my mother and I must be sisters, and we're just making up the mother-daughter thing.

Bonus quick take: My mother would probably kill me if I posted a picture of her on the internet to show you how young she looks/how much we look alike. Maybe I'll ask for her baby picture, and I can show you how we literally looked like little clone babies, except her eyes were brown and mine were blue. (Neither of us had hair until we were toddlers.)

Now I must go back to studying for my two finals tomorrow (TWO! FINALS! On a SATURDAY!), so visit Jen for more quick takes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


"Look, Megan!" she cries happily, swinging her legs in the booster seat next to me.

So I look, but not at what she wants me to look at. I look at her: hair and eyelashes turning from sandy brown to liquid gold in the sunlight, her smooth skin with its bit of tan, her smiling pink lips.

If I were a poet perhaps I would write about her more, more than the little anecdotes and funny sayings. I would find a way to capture how she is the most beautiful, perfect creature I've ever seen in my life, how I love her so much that it hurts, but a sort of pain so precious that you wouldn't give up a moment of it for a thousand years of pleasure.

But I don't have the words to describe it well; I only have these few halting sentences which I will put up anyway so that maybe someday she reads this and gets at least a little glimpse of my heart.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A really long book meme

courtesy of Salome Ellen

1. Favorite childhood book?
When I was in first grade, this book called Charlie the Caterpillar. When I was a little older, Ella Enchanted. I still love Ella; haven't read Charlie in years to know if it's actually any good.

2. What are you reading right now?
The Brothers Karamazov--for school, but I love it so much that I'm glad for another chance to read it.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Liturgy of the Hours: Its history and its importance as the communal prayer of the Church after Vatican II, by Fr. Dominic F. Scotto, TOR. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second life, and Beyond: from production to produsage, by Axel Bruns. Watching the watchdog: Blogging as the fifth estate, by Stephen D. Cooper. All books that came in too late to be used in research papers and that I will not be picking up.

4. Bad book habit?
Walking and reading, probably.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

A dozen different things, mostly about marriage because of my last research paper. I need to drop them off in the chute today or tomorrow.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
E-readers are an abomination.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
Usually I prefer to have 2 or 3 going at once, but in my day I could have a dozen that I was reading all at the same time and still follow the plot of each.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes, but that's correlation rather than causation. (I also became a college student in the fall of 2007...)

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

Whatever book that was by David Hume that we read in Honors last semester. I disliked it so much I won't even look up the title for you.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Alex O'Donnell and the Forty Cybertheives, by Regina Doman.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
What's a comfort zone?

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
See, these questions should be reversed. Honestly, the only limit I have is nasty explicit content, and I almost never read outside that.

13. Can you read on the bus?
It's been a while since I've been on the bus, but I have no problems reading on planes and very little difficulty reading in cars, so I'll say yes.

14. Favorite place to read?
The comfy brown chair at home. I am stealing that chair when I graduate.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
My precioussssss...Seriously, though, I will fairly often say to someone, "You should read this book" and then give them my copy of it. Since this only happens between me and close friends, I know they'll give it back.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Very rarely.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Nooooooooooooooooooo (breath) oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

18. Not even with text books?

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. I don't think my Spanish is good enough to read a whole book, and my Latin is even worse.

20. What makes you love a book?
When it makes me go into poetic raptures. It's hard to define what exactly will do that, though. (Dostoyevsky and Lewis both have good track records in inducing poetic raptures.)

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If it induces poetic raptures, and I think the person I'm recommending it to is the sort to be able to have poetic raptures.

22. Favorite genre?
I read just about anything, though I'm not a huge fan of what little horror I've read. If I had to pick I'd say sci-fi.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Going off the last question...I haven't read some good classic sci-fi in a couple years. (Ray Bradbury ftw!)

24. Favorite biography?
Surprised by Joy, by C. S. Lewis.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Of course. My favorite general self-help books are the Seven Habits family by the Coveys. (The only one I've read all the way through is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey.)

26. Favorite cookbook?
My mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the eighties. Yay for butter in everything!

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or nonfiction)?
Hmmm...Let's say A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.

28. Favorite reading snack?
Just about anything. I really like apples and books, even though I hate getting sticky pages as a result.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I'm not sure. There have been plenty of books which I thought were overrated, but I wouldn't say hype ruined my reading experience.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Not very often.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Go for it, but have reasons. You can't just say "I hated this book" and leave it at that.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Russian. I'm that much of a Dostoyevsky fangirl.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
War and Peace, I suppose. I didn't end up liking it very much, either.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
After finishing War and Peace, there's not much that scares me anymore.

35. Favorite poet?
Probably T. S. Eliot.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Half a dozen?

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
At the end of summer and Christmas vacations.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Too many to list. At this moment, Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I happen to be reading at the time.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Does not compute.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Chesterton's Orthodoxy. I'm about due for my biannual attempt at reading that book.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
A lot of stuff. I'm a distractible person.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (The one that came out a few years ago.)

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Prince Caspian. Ella Enchanted was pretty bad as well, but Caspian was more disappointing because of how well they'd done LWW.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
$600+ on textbooks.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Only for school.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
The Second Coming. I usually either give up on a book after 2-3 chapters or read it all the way through. If I make it to halfway I've invested enough time on it that I feel like I have to finish.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, but right now they're not at all.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Depends on if I liked them.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Well, right now I'm avoiding finishing The Brothers Karamazov by doing this meme.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Moby Dick, because I was 14 at the time and a very black-and-white thinker. I should go back and try that book again sometime.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Brideshead Revisited? I didn't decide I liked that book until about the last 10 pages.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
War and Peace?
I kept waiting for the pace to pick up and everything to suddenly wrap itself up brilliantly, and just sort of ended, instead.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Can I say Dostoyevsky again?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I turned 21 yesterday

Things I got for my birthday:

-45 wall posts on Facebook

-1 card (from my grandmother)

-1 four-page letter (from my darling boyfriend)

-1 mysterious Amazon box (from my family; I'm waiting to open it until we can all be on Skype)

-5 handmade signs on my door, including 1 of a deformed unicorn (from my household sisters, and they were hilarious)

-1 package of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls (bought by my mother while I was home for fall break to compensate for the lack of birthday cake)

-1 cone of Moose Tracks ice cream (from the caf, and thus indirectly from my wonderful tuition-paying parents)

-1 piece of cake (from my roommate, who conscripted one of her friends/my acquaintances into making me cake)

-1 glass of White Zinfandel, to which my reaction was "meh" (also from my roommate)

It was a pretty good day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why I'm not blogging much

My schedule for the next 8 days:

Friday: A 6-to-8-page paper on the history of the Liturgy of the Hours due at 10 a.m.

Monday: A design of a magazine spread due at 6 p.m.

Tuesday: A 10-page paper on alternative forms of journalism due at 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: A 10-to-15-page paper on the mutual sanctification of the spouses as the primary goal of marriage due at 6 p.m.

Thursday: An 8-minute presentation on new media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) due at 9:30 a.m.

(I feel like there's some sort of grave injustice inherent in the fact that Wednesday is my birthday. I suppose this is what I get for being born in November.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Saturday Evening Blog Post, Volume 1 for me

This is called the Saturday evening blog post. I entered my link on Sunday night, and then I wrote this post on Monday morning. Yeah, I'm a bit behind the curve.

Anyway...I chose this post, for reasons that I think will be obvious. Go to Elizabeth Esther to read some other posts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quote of the day

“Perhaps one of the oldest descriptions of good journalism comes from the Bible itself. In the opening lines of the Gospel according to St. Luke, the writer explained that he had ‘carefully investigated everything from the beginning, [and] it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you…to know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ So a first principle for journalists is to tell the story truthfully in such a way that others may obtain certain knowledge of events to which they were not personally a witness.”~Curtis R. Holsopple, "Mass Media in 2025"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Divine imprudence

The Gospel for today is one that has often puzzled me. Why would a shepherd leave all his sheep in the desert to go look for the lost one? Wouldn't it be a better idea to leave them in the sheepfold? And why does the woman call together everyone she knows after she finds the coin? I recall a different Gospel writer or a different translation which said of this parable that she had a party when she found the lost coin--and probably spent more than the value of the coin on the party celebrating its return. It's just so imprudent of that shepherd and that woman.

It occurred to me a few months ago that maybe that's the point. Maybe we're supposed to come away from this with the realization that God will not search for us only when it's economically feasible. He does not seek to get back from us what he spent finding us. If anything, he risks all his fortune solely for us.

Why? Because he loves us so much that we're worth it.

I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you.
~Isaiah 43:3-4

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

G. K. Chesterton to Frances Blogg

I do not have any original thoughts to spare today, so I'm posting this, which I got from here.

I cannot profess to offer any elaborate explanation of your mother's disquiet but I admit it does not wholly surprise me. You see I happen to know one factor in the case, and one only, of which you are wholly ignorant. I know you ... I know one thing which has made me feel strange before your mother - I know the value of what I take away. I feel (in a weird moment) like the Angel of Death.

You say you want to talk to me about death: my views about death are bright, brisk and entertaining. When Azrael takes a soul it may be to other and brighter worlds: like those whither you and I go together. The transformation called Death may be something as beautiful and dazzling as the transformation called Love. It may make the dead man 'happy,' just as your mother knows that you are happy. But none the less it is a transformation, and sad sometimes for those left behind. A mother whose child is dying can hardly believe that in the inscrutable Unknown there is anyone who can look to it as well as she. And if a mother cannot trust her child easily to God Almighty, shall I be so mean as to be angry because she cannot trust it easily to me? I tell you I have stood before your mother and felt like a thief. I know you are not going to part: neither physically, mentally, morally nor spiritually. But she sees a new element in your life, wholly from outside - is it not natural, given her temperament, that you should find her perturbed? Oh, dearest, dearest Frances, let us always be very gentle to older people. Indeed, darling, it is not they who are the tyrants, but we. They may interrupt our building in the scaffolding stages: we turn their house upside down when it is their final home and rest. Your mother would certainly have worried if you had been engaged to the Archangel Michael (who, indeed, is bearing his disappointment very well): how much more when you are engaged to an aimless, tactless, reckless, unbrushed, strange-hatted, opinionated scarecrow who has suddenly walked into the vacant place. I could have prophesied her unrest: wait and she will calm down all right, dear. God comfort her: I dare not....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I made my characters take the MBTI

(There might be a post about the acwawum soon, but right now there's this.)

Main Male Character #1 came out as INTJ.

Main Male Character #2 came out as ENFP.

Main Female Character came out as ESTJ.

Secondary Female Character came out as ISFJ.

I really think MMC1 is actually INTP, though. He is a very organized person, but he tells me that that's out of necessity. If he doesn't leave himself time to arrive at appointments really early or if he doesn't make a schedule for his workday, life instantly descends into Chaos and he can't get anything done. But he has never really been a "Ten-Year Plan" kind of guy. For instance, he has a thing for SFC, but he thinks that pursing her would be a bad idea for reasons I won't go into here. When he becomes convinced that it is actually a good idea, he basically shows up one day and says "Hi, I love you, will you marry me?" And SFC, being a J, will probably flip out a little bit, but I'm not sure because I haven't rewritten that part yet.

Him being an INTP would also explain why I'm secretly in love with him (only not so secretly, because Mari could tell and now I'm telling all of you), because the one time I forced Scott to take the MBTI he came out as an INTP.

(I'm INTJ.)

Also, MMC2 and MFC are dating and will marry before the book is out. They have the most hilariously interesting relationship. (MMC2 can actually take very good care of himself, because he's both brilliant and street smart, but MFC entirely disapproves of his flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants methods. Yet she loves him anyway, for reasons she hasn't told me yet.)

(Oh, MFC and SFC are twin sisters, in case you're curious.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Assorted bits and pieces

I would make this seven quick takes, but today is Saturday, so I'll just do bullet points.

- All the littles are VERY excited to have me home.

- Yet the second thing out of Teresa's mouth (after "I love you so much!") was "Where's Scott?"

- We're going to the "acwawum" tomorrow and picking up Scott on the way. I am at least as excited as Teresa. :)

- I hated War and Peace (after reading it under compulsion for Honors) so much that I was terrified to crack open The Brothers Karamazov. I'd read BK 4 years ago upon the recommendation of the lovely and brilliant Emily, who was a college freshman just out of a Russian lit class, and LOVED it, but maybe I've just lost my love for Russian literature somewhere along the way these last 4 years.

- Nope. 7 pages in, and I'm enamored all over again. If I had a Dostoyevsky fangirl t-shirt, I'd don it now.

- My mom wants me to make myself a birthday list. (I should put "Dostoyevsky fangirl t-shirt" on there). I was stumped on the "Things That Are Not Books" category until one of my friends suggested that I ask for household goods so that when I move out after graduation I will have that sort of stuff. So now I have fun things like "sharp knives" on my birthday list. :)

- I have a shiny new horizontal driver's license. The horizontal part is noteworthy because in Ohio they differentiate under-21 drivers and over-21 drivers by having their licenses oriented vertically and horizontally respectively. (I love that I just used three adverbs in four words, by the way.)

- While I was out I voted via absentee ballot.

- During the car drive yesterday, Mom and I entertained ourselves by figuring out how I can eat for $90 a month. It is entirely possible, though things like bacon and chocolate are going to become luxuries for me. Maybe that's a good thing.

- I do not weigh the same as I did when I was 16, but the DMV lady didn't really ask so I didn't really tell.

- It occurred to me that the next time I go to the DMV will probably be due to a name change, not a birthday. :)

- My big sister loves me. She came along with Mom yesterday, and so we're all driving back and we stop for dinner and I forget to tell the fast-food people that I want my fish sandwich PLAIN. So I get a sandwich that's drowning in tartar sauce, and just about had a nervous breakdown in the car until Kitty offered to trade her popcorn shrimp for my fish sandwich. All was then right with the world.

- She also let me use one of her pillows when it came to light at 11 p.m. that I had none and she had two.

- Sometime I should write a post about my weird food aversions. Normally I can take things like "there's SAUCE on my SANDWICH" in stride, but then there are those days when we're in the car and I'm exhausted and starving and I JUST WANT FOOD I CAN EAT. My heart bleeds for people with actual food allergies.

- I said "My heart bleeds for you" to Mom a lot yesterday, but it was about things like "I told Kitty to give everyone 1 piece of candy and she probably could have given them 2, because we have a lot left."

- Whoever is in charge of such things in the Polis stupidly scheduled Trick-or-Treat for Thursday, which is unspeakably bizarre given that Halloween is Sunday, and very upsetting for me because I like taking the Princess Trick-or-Treating.

- Then again, now I don't have to worry about eating all the candy before Trick-or-Treat. Your heart bleeds for me, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My post for the day... to send you here.

And to thank Karen Edmisten for once again pointing me to an amazing piece of poetry.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To my baby on her birthday

Dear Teresa,

Today you are four, and I cannot get my mind around that. If you are four then that means you've been with us for less than two and a half years; if you are four it means it was barely more than two years ago that Mom and Dad went out for a night and so I rocked you to sleep and you held my finger in your little baby hand and I thought, You are holding my heart.

You are still holding it. I do not think I knew how deeply I could love another human being until I met you. I love your godfather very much, but it is different somehow. We can define and quantify it, to an extent. We can set boundaries on how far we let it go.

There were never any boundaries possible for loving you. There are no words to describe it, and I am a writer so I know words.

All I can give you is a story, because I am a writer.

When you are a very little bit older I will take you to the St. Jude chapel at our church, and I will put a dollar in the box (I will probably let you slide it through the slot, because that is fun), and we will each light a candle and I will whisper to you that I lit a thousand candles for you, here in front of St. Jude. Because I was a teenager with an impossible prayer, and when you are a teenager you do immoderate things (immoderate things involving fire is a bonus) and when you have an impossible prayer you go to St. Jude.

I didn't know about you, when I spent endless hours and most of my papergirl income praying and lighting candles. Most of the time I was praying, you were already alive, you just weren't my sister yet.

Except you were always my sister. Since the beginning of time you were my sister, and God prepared my heart ahead of time for you, so that when you came with no promises of staying I would be able to love you more deeply than I ever loved anyone else.

You stayed, and one day when you were three we went to the courthouse and then the law recognized what we always knew: That you were always meant to be ours, and we were always meant to be yours. The judge said then what a good thing it was for you to be with us; he remarked on how much you needed us.

He had no idea that he was only telling half the story, or perhaps less than half. He did not know what a good thing it was for us to have you, or how very much we needed you.

I know that half of the story, and I am still in awe of the grace that you are. I don't think I will ever stop thanking God that he answered a teenager's impossible prayer.

I love you.


Photo taken by my mom, December of 2009

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: The Little Princess Edition

1. The Princess is turning FOUR on Tuesday. Nobody gave her permission to get that old, but there she goes doing it anyway.

2. Today is her name day.

3. She is enamored of our pastor, who is a gentle giant (about 6 1/2 feet tall and built like a linebacker) and absolutely loves kids. One day this summer she saw him in his clericals (you know, the black pants and shirt with the collar) and refused to say hi. Apparently a giant man in black is a lot scarier than a giant man in billowing vestments. Who'd've thunk it?

4. During the Corpus Christi procession way back in June, Teresa absolutely insisted that Emily carry her the entire time. Many of my blog readers know Emily in person, but to those of you who don't--she's about 5'3" and pretty slenderly built, while Teresa weighs about 45 pounds. So it was kind of taxing. But Emily put up with it cheerfully the whole time we walked around the square.

5. Teresa spent the rest of the summer talking about how she wanted to go to the pool with Emily.

6. She also spent most of the summer saying she wanted a baby for her birthday. Apparently the Little Man is young enough to suit her, because as far as I know she hasn't asked again since he arrived.

7. She still had a long enough list of requests, so Mom pulled together a princess-themed birthday, and I'll be Skyping in on Sunday afternoon. I am eagerly anticipating it. :)

Visit Jen for more quick takes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Phones are socially awkward

Last night I decided after night class that I missed Scott. So I called his house, and conversed briefly with Eldest Younger Brother, who informed me that Scott had stayed late at school and would be back in about a half-hour. I asked him to relay the fact that I had called and then hung up.

That in itself is not worth a blog post; I don't call Scott's house often but I do it often enough.

I just felt it necessary to note that even after having dated Scott 2 1/2 years, talked to him on the phone probably hundreds of times, and talked to EYB on the phone at least a few dozen times (this conversation was pretty typical), I still can't totally tell them apart on the phone. I haven't been wrong in a long, long time, but there's still that moment of, "I am going to address you as if you are EYB even though I'm only about 70% sure you are." The hesitation is noticeable enough in my voice that when I got off the phone and said, "[EYB] and Scott sound SO much alike!" my roommate said something to the effect of, "Oh, that's what it was. Because when you asked for Scott you sounded like you weren't totally sure you weren't already talking to Scott."

If there was a point to this post, it would be in this paragraph. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Who would YOU date? [*Language alert*]

My friend Michael A. says on Facebook: "I don't get that one like that keeps floating around about how a tall guy with a short girl is cute, but a short guy with a tall girl is awkward. Isn't that sexist and weird?"

Peter J. replies:

Yeah it pisses me off too (for obvious reasons, maybe..haha).

It is pretty sexist--in my experience, a lot of guys find it emasculating to be shorter than their girlfriend. I think that displays a tragic insecurity in their own masculinity.... As a short man, I don't find it to be emasculating at all. I don't think the fact that a girl can reach higher up than me makes me less of a man, nor do I feel that my masculinity is dependent upon my being any taller than anyone, man or woman. If I can't reach a book on the top shelf, that says absolutely nothing about my manhood. In fact, it says a lot about the lack of manhood in the taller guys who mock.
Admittedly, there may be some primal need to be protected that a woman feels, and so she goes for the bigger, taller man. Again, in my experience the physical size of the man doesn't protect a woman nearly as well as his integrity or character. I've protected women in the past, and you know how tiny I am. The bigger guys who can 'get all the girls' tend to take advantage of their physically dominating traits and throw their weight around to prove that they're the alpha male. In reality, little ol' me has made guys three times my size back off when they're making a woman feel uncomfortable. Protecting a woman is about confidence and chivalry more than height and brute strength.

So, superficial America, you tell me what's better: a tall, musclebound douchebag or a guy of any size who actually cares about the girl he's with?

/rant. Clearly this has all occurred to me before. ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Midterms edition

1. This is the 500th post published on this blog. I think that's kind of impressive.

2. I had midterms this week, so my brain is totally and completely dead.

3. The Princess is in preschool two days a week. Wednesday, Mom asked her, "What did you learn in preschool today?" She replied, "Be gentle with the other children." One gets the idea she hears that a lot.

4. On a related note, Mom reports that after Mass on Sunday the Little Man was whining because Dad wouldn't put him down so he could walk. Dad asked, "And WHY won't I let you down?" The Little Man replied sagely, "Because I was acting like a baby."

5. At the most stressful point of my week (Wednesday afternoon), Scott showed me a webpage he'd built that prints "Are we there yet?" over and over again until you hit a button saying "We're there!" It is quite possibly the most awesome thing I've ever seen.

6. Sometimes I am reminded strongly of the fact that there's a reason he and I are dating each other and nobody else. Or rather lots of reasons. And our completely bizarre sense of humor is one of them. (I put sense in the singular because ours are pretty much identical, despite being very bizarre.)

Of course, one of the other reasons is the fact that he also gets me when I'm being serious, better than anybody else does.

7. Sometimes Cheez Whiz is a crucial plot point.

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A belated tribute to my guardian angel

MOM: Do not read this post. Love, Megan.

Inspired by Philangelus, I decided to post the story of the car wreck last year, which I don't believe I ever mentioned on this blog--by the time I stopped feeling all post-traumatic stressed about it, I was on my big long blogging break.

Anyway. The wreck happened on August 23, 2009; this account was written to some friends on September 16, 2009. (For those of you who don't already know who Morgan is, she's a friend who used to go back and forth with me sometimes. She's since graduated.)

So, the last time I posted (on the prayer request forum) I asked for safe travels back to school.

Thanks for the prayers, first off. I obviously needed them, since about halfway back to school a semi driver decided to change lanes and didn't notice that the van was already in that spot. (Or maybe he thought he could defy the laws of physics or something.)

The laws of physics being what they are, we smashed into a bank and then flipped over (maybe twice, I don't remember). And my second thought (after "Is everybody okay?") was, "We're going to be late, aren't we?"

By then an off-duty EMT from Noblesville, Indiana, had come to our rescue. He was in central Ohio with his little EMT truck because he was on his way to training in Wheeling. (I could not make this stuff up, people.) After we had gotten out and brushed ourselves off, another random stranger asked where we were going. When he heard that we were going to Steubenville, he offered to take us because he was going to Pittsburgh. Since he was a random stranger, we politely declined.

A few minutes later Morgan's cell phone rang. It was her friend Julie, who just happened to be driving by on her own way to school and wanted to ask, "Morgan, why are you standing by the side of the road? Did you see that van? I feel sorry for *those* people!"

Once Morgan explained that she *was* one of those people, Julie had her dad turn around and come fetch us. A couple hours later we made it into Steubenville with a couple of bags each. Before the check-in deadline, even.

Oh, and this all happened a few miles from my grandma's house, so the EMT gave Mom a ride over there, and all our other stuff ended up in Grandma's garage. The next day Dad went and got all of it and brought it to Steubenville for us.

Morgan and I were both a little sore but perfectly fine within a few days. Mom had a pulled muscle in her shoulder and some epic bruises, but she's doing much better now. (3 weeks later.) The only real casualty was Morgan's Bruce Lee poster. (And poor Leslie the Minivan, of course.)

And that's how I got to school in one piece.

And here are some pictures of the van (with the plates edited out in Paint):

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday Social Notes: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(With apologies to Seraphic Spouse.)

This past Sunday was homecoming weekend at our correspondent's university, so she ended up driving 45 minutes to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form, along with her roommate, Gratia Plena, and two alumni and old friends, Petrvs Romanvs and Pope Ioseph of the Apostolic See of Ann Arbor.

The forces of the enemy were no doubt at work on Sunday morning, for it was raining miserably and Petrvs was unable to find his keys. Therefore, there was much waiting in the rain while he searched, and then much walking in the rain after he found them, for his vehicle was parked in the area colliquially known as the Ninth Circle of Hell.

After our correspondent had warmed up somewhat, she enjoyed conversing with her companions about a variety of topics, with interspersed comments from Petrvs about how his keys and the traffic were going to end up preventing him from making it out of Confession before the Asperges.

Our correspondent and her companions arrived at church well before the Asperges, and Petrvs and Ioseph did place themselves in the line for Confession, while our correspondent and Gratia did find a spot in the pew, just 2 rows behind an adorable and very young infant, who did distract our correspondent with his cuteness for the entirety of the Mass. Our correspondent is very distractible, even when the very young infants in front of her are innocently sleeping.

The priest did toddle down the aisle singing the Asperges, and did douse our correspondent in holy water, but a moment before Petrvs, newly shriven, did take his seat beside her. Our correspondent was somewhat disappointed on his behalf, but reflected that at least they had made it in time for him to approach the coming Banquet with an unspotted soul.

Ioseph disappeared from the Confession line, but did also disappear from our correspondent's vision. Fear not, however, for he was located at the end of Mass and revealed that he had been sitting up front and on the opposite side of the church. But more on that anon.

There were a great many mantillas, both black and white, including two white ones upon the heads of our correspondent and Gratia. Our correspondent is not good at math, so she did not count them. She also did not ask Gratia, who is a student of mathematics, to count them, even though Gratia is good at math.

The priest did read the readings and make the announcements and preach a homily, which was almost entirely taken from the writings of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, and was about the Eucharist. Properly edified, our correspondent and her remaining companions did process up the aisle and kneel at the altar rail to receive the aforementioned Eucharist.

After the dismissal, our correspondent and her remaining companions did exit the church, whereupon they relocated Ioseph and discovered several friends who had likewise chosen to attend Mass there rather than on campus. Ioseph decided that he preferred to partake of the Lunch of Peace with the other friends, and so once more abandoned our correspondent and her remaining companions.

Therefore, our correspondent and her remaining companions did retire to a restaurant famous for its Beer of Fellowship, which resulted in much ribbing of our correspondent, who is not yet of legal age to partake in the Beer of Fellowship. Instead, our correspondent and Gratia did partake of the Ice Water of Sobriety, while Petrvs responsibly imbibed a limited quantity of the Beer of Fellowship. All three did also partake of the Pizza and Other Foodstuffs of Temperate Enjoyment, and did have a very pleasant conversation on various and sundry topics. The waiter did make a mistake and bring only one bill, which Petrvs manfully paid. However, our correspondent is informed that he allowed Gratia to prevail upon him to allow her to give him money; therefore, our correspondent must at some point give Gratia money.

Afterwards, Petrvs, having imbibed responsibly, was able to convey our correspondent and Gratia back to campus. Upon noticing the deserted nature of the parking lot, he did insist upon conveying Gratia to her car, which she had out of necessity parked in the Ninth Circle of Hell. Gratia was thus able to relocate her vehicle to Purgatory with less trouble than she would have had otherwise.

Petrvs did then insist upon dropping our correspondent off at her dorm, where she did homework. Now, a day later, she must leave off this account and go do more homework.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Life, death, and cookies edition

1. September is starting to depress me. Last year, my grandfather died, his brother (my great-uncle) died, and Vivian died. This year Fr. Lee died. I'm kind of glad September is over now.

2. Then again, I also got a new second cousin this September, which in this case means that my great-aunt got to think about her first grandchild instead of thinking about the anniversaries of her brothers' deaths. Thanks to the wonder of Facebook, I get to see pictures of baby C. He is ridiculously adorable.

3. It was my dad's birthday this past Sunday, and I Skyped into the party. I got to sing Happy Birthday and watch him blow out candles, and it was almost as good as being there.

4. Two days later, I got a package from my mother that included mint chocolate chip cookies, so I was no longer sad about not getting any cake. My roommate and I are making quick work of them.

5. Completely random note: I could be in DAR if I wanted to. I was reminded of that because I'm related to baby C. through my mother, whose extended family I know primarily because we've all lived in Ohio since the 1790s and so we're concentrated enough to actually have family reunions. (There is a certain ideal level of scatter for family reunions...too little and you see each other all the time anyway; too much and nobody wants to buy a plane ticket to eat hamburgers with people they only see every two or three years.)

6. Going back to the subject of baby sister is going to be FOUR soon. When did that happen and how do I make it stop?

7. In Liturgy the other day, we were talking about blessed objects, and one student asked how to dispose of them. Father replied that they should be buried. The student said, "But what if you have your car blessed?" Father grinned impishly and replied, "Then you bury the car. Get a bulldozer and RRRRRRR."

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Because I love you

Actually, I just love this picture, which is copyright of my friend Mary L., and basically sums up my life: I have long hair and I love Bob and Larry.

(Her caption: "Rapunzel (aka Megan) enthralled with Veggietales.")

Monday, September 27, 2010

A few more inadequate words

I, my parents, and Miss Kitty had the great privilege of having this priest as our pastor for four years. He Confirmed my dad at an Easter Vigil not so many years ago. He also has the distinction of being the first priest I really loved.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A few inadequate words

A year ago today, I woke up at 6 a.m. and immediately checked Facebook, breathing a little sigh of relief that nothing had changed since I reluctantly went to bed several hours before.

I got ready for the day, went to Mass, and ate breakfast, praying fervently all the while. When I got back and checked Facebook again, Kyle had posted the news that Vivian Marie had passed away.

Yesterday, those of us who remember celebrated her birthday into this world. Today, those of us who remember celebrate her birthday into Heaven.

We still miss you, baby girl.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What Vespers Will Always Be, Revisited

Two years, five months, one week, and six days ago (not that anyone's counting), Scott and I walked back from Vespers with an unfinished conversation hanging in the air between us, and eventually we got up the courage to finish it, and realize that we both knew what was supposed to happen next.

I told him, then, that I was deathly afraid of loving him, but that I'd decided over the two days he'd given me to think about it that he was worth the risk of getting my heart broken.

He was, and is.

I love you, darling, and I always will.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Weirdness and Romance edition

1. Note to the characters in Romantic poems: If you find a gorgeous woman in the woods, LEAVE HER THERE. Run away.

Also, never ever ever shoot an albatross.

2. Scott and I had a Skype date last night, and ended up spending most of it reading Pearls Before Swine. This was my favorite comic of the night; I posted it on Facebook as "This is going to be my honeymoon." (Scott's dad commented: "Somehow I pictured you doing something ELSE on your honeymoon rather than playing Risk. Like reading Calvin & Hobbes comic books. =)" )

3. Sometimes I wonder what my roommate thinks when I am on Skype and say things like, "See, I should be the zebra and you should be the vegetarian croc, because you're the anthropomorphic duck and I'm the nonanthropomorphic duck."

And then I realize she's known me for 2 1/2 years and would have run away by now if she was afraid of a little weirdness.

4. I'm still working on that Kant essay.

5. Also an essay for Christian Marriage on what constitutes a truly human sexual act.

6. This past Sunday my household sisters and I were all at Vespers together. When we got back, we found that two of the other girls on wing had TPed our common room and bedrooms. The Sarahs were very happy they'd locked their door.

7. We have two cow suits among our household possessions, just because. Yesterday one of my sisters was wandering around the hall in one of them. Just because.

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Priorities and Progress

I just updated my progress on The Novels, dear readers, and felt compelled to add a couple of comments.

1. I have been doing schoolwork! My slow progress in creative writing proves it!

2. I feel like the stats for The Novel do not totally reflect the amount of time I *did* put into it the last two weeks. The first 3 chapters (which were actually a Prologue, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2) were structurally fairly sound but needed updated and polished--kind of like having a house that's overall a decent house but could use a finished basement and some paint in the bedrooms and new appliances in the kitchen. Chapters 3, 4, and 5, however, were kind of like the Before houses in Extreme Home Makeover. They needed to be torn down and replaced by much bigger, fancier houses. (Except without the inground pools and whatever. Mari would skin me if I got too fancy.) And I can't spend 14 hours a day working on them, so it takes me more than a week. Fortunately, I'm plugging along nicely through what I've been calling The Chapter Formerly Known As Five (all this expansion has resulted in a discrepancy in the number of chapters between one draft and the next), and the Chapters Formerly Known As Six And Seven are more of the "update" category than the "tear down and replace" category.

Don't ask me about the Chapters Formerly Known As Eight Through Twelve, however.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My two least-favorite films made in my lifetime

A while back, Kyle did a series on his favorite films made in his lifetime.

I made a similar list, which was a lot harder because I am a lot younger than Kyle. :) (Seriously, The Princess Bride was made before I was born. I am crippled by that fact alone.) But you will have to wait indefinitely for that list and my thoughts on the movies because apparently I can't write posts that take more than 5 minutes of concentration.

However, I will give you what was going to be the bonus appendix: The List of My Two Least-Favorite Films Made in My Lifetime.

Please note that I think both of these are respectable as movies. Anybody can make a list a mile long of B-list pieces of garbage filmed by a 15-year-old in his basement, but instead I picked movies which simply went completely against what I personally want out of a movie to the point where I will never watch them again.

1. Miss Potter

2. Becoming Jane

I know. You're all sitting there saying, "But! These are movies about female writers! You're a female writer! You should love them!"

I should, and maybe I would have in the right circumstances, but I didn't. Why? Well, because in Miss Potter the title character has a secret fiance who dies tragically just when she's received permission to marry him, and she can't even attend the funeral because nobody in his family knows she's his secret fiancee. I have since developed a phobia of the Cobbler dying and me not being able to attend his funeral. Thanks a lot, whoever wrote that storyline.

That was traumatic enough, but then a few weeks later I watched Becoming Jane, and guess what happens in that movie? Well, her sister's fiance dies in the West Indies on the eve of THEIR marriage. Also, Jane and her One Twue Wuv are unable to even elope because he has a bajillion younger siblings who will all die wretchedly if he doesn't become a brilliant lawyer, which he can't do if he marries a girl from a less-than-stunningly-wealthy family. I have not developed a phobia of the Cobbler having to become a lawyer to support his bajillion younger siblings (for one thing, he only has four), but it was still kind of traumatic.

Moral I gleaned from these two movies: If you are a female writer, you will NEVER be allowed to marry your true love. Tough luck, ladies.

That's not the kind of message I want to get while munching popcorn.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Font of randomness edition

1. The Bunny is very curious about this whole Catholicism thing, which means that saying grace before meals gets you peppered with a dozen questions. Mass is like defending your doctoral dissertation (not that I know what that's like). So when Mom told me they had cake for Mary's birthday Wednesday I expected to hear an account of 700 questions of why we celebrate Mary's birthday.

Nope. Apparently the Bunny doesn't need a deep catechetical reason to eat cake.

2. I am writing this post as a way of taking a break from writing an essay on how Kant arrives at his Copernican turn and what implications that has for modern thought. I know you're jealous.

3. Mari introduced me to The Spanish Inquisition. Once you watch that, go look at her blogger profile and tell me if you notice something interesting.

4. As I've mentioned before, Mari is helping me edit my novel. She is amused by the fact that my characters eat all the time. So I went through The New Novel and realized that my characters eat or drink (cognac, tea, that sort of drinking) 9 times in the first 10,000 words.

I tried doing a similar count for The Novel and gave up when I hit 10 or 11 in the first three chapters.

Everybody needs to eat, right?

5. Something I do not understand: Wearing a button-down shirt and NOT BUTTONING IT. Or rather, buttoning two or three buttons in the middle, right under one's bosom (if one is female, and the only people I've seen doing this are adult women). Sometimes there's a tank top underneath. Sometimes there's not, in which case the woman in question just buttons from the bosom down, leaving the top 3 or 4 feeling bored and purposeless.

Here's the thing: I'm a heterosexual woman, and I don't want to see everything down to your bra. I don't think a lot of men want to see it either. Or they do, and you should definitely button your shirt so that if they're going to ogle they at least have to use their imagination a bit.

Rant over. Thanks for reading.

6. I am not sure what I think of this. I certainly tell the Princess she's beautiful all the time; I've taught the Little Man to say "Iya hassum boy." But the Princess is only 3, so it remains to be seen whether she'll grow up anorexic or something. (Or grow up to be one of those people who can't button her shirt properly.)

7. Did you know it is possible to tickle someone over Skype? I did not know this until I started conversing with the Princess; I discovered recently that it works on the Little Man as well. 2-year-olds are fantastic. :)

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Only at Franciscan...

can you be walking back from night class and encounter (in the first floor lobby of your dorm) a T.O.R. sister handing out chocolate chip cookies.

Yes, I took one. It's a feast day. Happy birthday, Mary!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This made my day

A Poison Tree

William Blake

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with my smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree

Monday, September 6, 2010

Last count, I owned about 300 books

Me, to Mari:

Someday I am going to have a tiny little apartment with almost no furniture and a few hundred books in stacks along the walls.
And I will sit leaning against the wall, hoping Dostoyevsky doesn't kill me, and write my own.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Back to school edition

1. I love naps. If I didn't have somewhere to be in half an hour, I'd totally be asleep right now.

2. This is the first time I've had a roommate who is also a morning person. It's great fun...lights out by 11 and then we go have breakfast together at 7 or so. It's nice to have another freak of (college student) nature to keep me company.

3. This is also the first time I've had a roommate who's 21. She keeps champagne in my fridge and I tease her about corrupting the youth.

4. The Little Man has been introduced to Skype and loves it. He apparently thinks that I can hear him through the computer all the time and will go over and yell my name at it when he wants to talk to me.

5. I have not died of night classes yet. See #2 for why I was expecting to die.

6. Kant actually isn't so bad once you get through his prose (German-translated-to-English is very dense), but I'm still happy to be moving on to English Romantic poetry next week.

7. If you haven't ever read the Regensberg Address, DO IT. We had to read it for Honors and it basically changed my life. I might write a longer post on why in a few days.

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Introducing The New Novel

So, dear readers, I've mentioned my novel-writing adventures here before and I figured it was time to mention them again.

I've added a new page to my blog which will hopefully chronicle my progress editing The Novel, which I finished back in February, and also writing The New Novel.

You can see the stats for The New Novel on the page, but a word about my goal: I'm attempting to write 100,000 words by midnight on January 1, 2011. I admit that this is a pretty lofty goal, coming to about 23-24,000 words a month, but I think it's doable. Schoolwork comes first, as always, but considering that I won NaNoWriMo last year and still got very respectable grades, I don't think I'll be in too much danger of neglecting anything important. (At this point I'm not planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I guess we'll see what happens in the next 2 months.) Also, if I run out of story before 100,000 words I'm not going to add fluff just to hit my goal. I picked that simply because it's a nice round number and a good average novel length.

Further updates as events warrant.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm trying not to let this ruin my day

So, we don't get a lot of fresh fruit in the Caf. It's just a sad fact of life.

Today, there were nectarines. I got one, and carried it out with me, and was making grand plans about having it with my vanilla yogurt for a snack.

Then I got distracted watching a butterfly and next thing I knew my delicious, beautiful little nectarine had fallen out of my hand. It rolled across the sidewalk, across a flowerbed, and under a car before I had time to switch from "Ooh, pretty butterfly!" to "MY PRECIOUSSSSS!!!"

I decided that it really wasn't worth it to see if I could fetch my precious nectarine from under the car. I mean, really, that's just nasty. Washing in the bathroom sink would not fix "Falling on the dirt and the road."

The sad part is that I can't tell myself that I can just have a nectarine-with-vanilla-yogurt tomorrow, because it could be weeks before I find another one at the Caf.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I like hugs

One household sister to another: "Too much physical touch!"

Me: "You can never have too much physical touch!"

Yet another sister: "Um..."

Me, pedantically: "You can have the wrong kind of physical touch, but you can never have too much."

Friday, August 27, 2010

I've spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder...

Just now, I was reading Mari's novel and came to a passage where the characters were stuck in a swamp with nothing but a bag of raw green beans, complaining about how they had nothing to eat. This is what resulted:

[3:10:51 PM] Margarita Nivea: You can totally eat raw string beans.

[3:11:04 PM] Philagneia: POISONOUS

[3:11:04 PM] Margarita Nivea: Green beans are good.
[3:11:13 PM] Margarita Nivea: I haven't died.

[3:11:28 PM] Philagneia: you'd just pick a bean off a plant and eat it?

[3:11:29 PM] Margarita Nivea: What kind of poisionous beans are these?
[3:11:33 PM] Margarita Nivea: ...yeah...
[3:12:16 PM] Margarita Nivea: Maybe we're talking about different kinds of beans?

[3:12:27 PM] Philagneia: chock full of prussic acid!

[3:12:34 PM] Margarita Nivea: XD
[3:12:36 PM] Margarita Nivea: Of what?

[3:12:50 PM] Philagneia: beans, like... these things.

[3:13:10 PM] Margarita Nivea: nomnomnom
[3:13:27 PM] Margarita Nivea: Yeah, you pull them off the plant and eat them.

[3:13:50 PM] Philagneia: you seem to have built up a resistance to prussic acid.

[3:13:56 PM] Margarita Nivea: What is prussic acid?

[3:14:15 PM] Philagneia: a type of cyanide

[3:14:36 PM] Margarita Nivea: Really? ^^


Has anybody else ever heard that? Now I'm intensely curious.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The imaginary story of William and Kant

My copy of Kant's Prolegomena is pre-owned, which means there are marginalia. The ones in this book are in pencil, which makes me happy because I can erase them.

They also make me happy because I can imagine what the person who had this book before me was thinking.

Now, the name on the title page is written in pen, so I don't know if William is the one who penciled in the margins, but let's say he did.

William did not read the editor's introduction, or if he did he thought nothing of it worth noting. He marked pretty steadily through the Preamble and Book 1. (He thought the passage I posted Monday was "lit".)

Then he got to Book 2, and suddenly the book explodes into pencil, numbering points, underlining passages, circling key terms...and then nothing. 13 pages into Book 2, there is one last scribble and then it stops. The last 75 pages of the book are good as new.

I like imagining William getting more and more confused as he went on, desperately flipping back and forth through those early pages of Book 2 and giving one last valiant effort at understanding...and then throwing the book down in frustration and going to watch TV.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This might be all I'm able to like about Kant

but, to his credit, this imagery is absolutely delicious:

So metaphysics floated to the surface, like foam, which dissolved the moment it was scooped off. But immediately there appeared a new supply on the surface, to be ever eagerly gathered up by some; while others, instead of seeking in the depths the cause of the phenomenon, thought they showed their wisdom by ridiculing the idle work of their neighbors.

Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Kids are cute edition

1. The Princess had pigtails in for about three minutes this morning. Her explanation: "I want two, like a big girl." I have no idea; none of us big girls ever wear two.

Then she pulled them out. "I'm [full name] again."

2. How to make a seven-year-old girl excited: Score her a "new" bike at a garage sale. It's purple and has Disney princesses on it.

3. How to make a two-year-old boy excited: Buy him a remote-control dump truck. (At the same garage sale.)

4. How to make a two-year-old boy REALLY excited: Show him how to put blocks in his remote-control dump truck and dump them out.

5. Lest you think we're hung up on gender-based stereotypes 'round here, this boy also loves playing "Bahbies" with the girls.

6. Princess and Little Man are thick as thieves already. They like to make up games together. Most of them involve semi-dangerous things like jumping off their little picnic table. We officially discourage those. A game we let them play involves them army-crawling under each other's legs. Watching them happily say "Your turn...Okay, my turn!" is adorable.

7. Princess was teaching Little Man how to play Ring Around The Rosy this morning. There are no words in the English language to describe how cute that was.

See Jen for more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Have I mentioned I'm an introvert?

Just now:

Mom: "How's my little rabbit-hole person?"

Me: "Your what?"

Mom: "My rabbit-hole person."

Me: "Oh, I thought you said 'rabid hole' like I was going to eat you or something if you disturbed my solitude."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blunt force trauma is complicated by glasses

My big adventure of the day happened when the Little Man threw a box lid (plastic, about 6" by 9") at my face. You know how head wounds bleed like crazy? Well, half-inch cuts on the bridge of one's nose do the same thing. Basically, the box lid by itself wouldn't have been enough to do much more than annoy me, but he threw it just right that it pushed my glasses into my face--and metal is tougher than thin Irish skin. (I sat around with a cold washcloth for a few minutes and was fine. He got a time-out.)

It reminds me of a time when I was 13 or 14 (there's a really narrow window between when I got glasses and when we moved out of the house in which this happened) and my sister and I were annoying each other, as we often did. I shoved her, she punched me in the face. Now, it was no doubt as girly a punch as any 16-year-old girl has thrown, but she hit me just right to a) pop a lens out of my glasses, and b) give me a lovely black eye. I derived a lot of satisfaction from how much trouble she got in for that one, considering that I was hardly even hurt.

In short: Wearing glasses can be a dangerous occupation. :)

(Maybe the moral of this story should be to not hit partially Irish people because they bleed and bruise all out of proportion to the gravity of their injury.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

And now for the writing bit

Since I can't really think of anything to post right now, I thought I'd just mention that I'm likely to navel-gaze (in a vague way, because I do want to be published someday and don't have a copyright on this drivel yet) about my novel in the coming months.

This particular novel, which I call ITW because that's it's...initials, if you will...I wrote between March of 2007 and February of 2010. That includes a whole year (2009) during which I wrote less than 2000 words (the whole novel is about 84,000) because I couldn't bring myself to end it. I kept a wordcount on the sidebar of my old blog, which I might reproduce here someday.

Now I am editing it, with Mari's help. It's slow going because we both know, lives. And she has novel-babies of her own.

Just thought I'd give you all a heads-up.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The deep breath before the plunge

My excuse for not blogging since Wednesday: Dad managed to fix the car (YAY! Computer geeks rule!), so I went to visit Scott.

Random snippets:

Sahara is the best movie you've never seen. Go see it now.

Public thanks to Mr. Cobbler, who lost Musical Beds and ended up sleeping on an air mattress, which was very chivalrous of him.

(My mom says that next time Scott should be the one who has to sleep on an air mattress, considering I'm his girlfriend.)

I love my boyfriend.

I lost the one game of Worms we played. The shame. But that was before we watched Sahara, so I got cheered up.

Now to survive until Halloween, which is the next time Scott and I will be within 100 miles of each other. *SIGH* Less than 9 months now until I graduate...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I am an incorrigible geek

Last year, Scott got me a certain computer game for my birthday.

My passion for blowing up tiny creatures has not abated since. If anything, it's gotten stronger. I can (and have) beaten both Scott and his 18-year-old brother at this game, so keeping in practice is now a matter of maintaining my reputation.

Playing by myself is good in its own right, of course, and not just as a means of practice. When everything else is difficult and refuses to work out the way it's supposed to, I can win at this game. Usually in less than half an hour.

Also, it's just plain fun.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comedy of Errors

Just before we left for Michigan (a fact I cleverly avoided mentioning in my last post, which was brought to you courtesy of my uncle's laptop) my mom's computer decided to stop working.

As soon as we got back Dad figured out that it was a problem with our antivirus software and fixed it.

Then he tried to go to work, and his car refused to start.

Then our internet stopped working.

Attempts, I am betraying my abysmal ignorance of cars by not knowing the word, so I'll just describe it. Attempts to start the car by connecting its battery to the van's battery and revving the van were unsuccessful. (Partly because Dad wasn't literal enough when he told me to rev it. I revved and then sat there while the car hacked and wheezed. Dad asked me if I was still revving it. Um, no. If you want me to perform an ongoing action you need to use the present progressive when you instruct me.* But then I revved it and kept revving it and the car wheezed some more but still didn't start.) So now Dad is thinking about replacing the battery (all by himself) and seeing if that helps.

He and the cable helpdesk guy were both unable to figure out what was wrong with the internet, so we were supposed to have a service call on Thursday. But then this morning Dad noticed some cable or other had come loose. So we cancelled our service call and now I'm blogging while the kids run wild.

Dad hasn't found any magical loose cables in the car yet, though. I'm rather worried about that because I am planning on going to visit Scott on Friday and I kind of need the car for that. (Me taking the van isn't really a viable option.)

I wish life would be a little less interesting sometimes.

*The most famous story from my learning-to-drive days dates to my very first lesson. (So, late May of 2005.) Dad told me to "Put your foot on the brake" and then shift to reverse. I shifted to reverse and the car started rolling backwards. Dad: "Is your foot on the brake?!" Me: "YES." Dad: "Put your foot on the brake and PRESS IT DOWN."
The moral being that I'm painfully literal sometimes. Especially, it seems, when doing things involving cars.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Facts about water recreation

-I like myself-in-a-swimsuit better now than I did 10 pounds ago. Totally vain reason to keep the weight loss plan going.

("What weight loss plan?" those of you who care ask. If you do care, I'll probably post something on food and whatnot soon. If you don't care, I'll probably post anyway.)

-I was going to link to a picture of my swimsuit (worn by a model no doubt much skinnier than I), but Land's End doesn't seem to carry it anymore. So, just fyi: I have a high-necked tank top with...well, not really spaghetti straps. More like fettuccine straps. And then I have that little skirt thing. Because I am modest, and also shy. (Even when I think I look good in the swimsuit.)

-Teresa can touch bottom in my uncle's pool now. This surprised everyone, Teresa most of all. It shouldn't have surprised those of us who can do math, since the pool is 39 inches deep and she is 42 inches tall. (Yes, she is a monster 3-year-old. She could knock down the average 5-year-old and sit on him.)

-Hot tubs are wonderful. I did not know this for almost 20 years, because I only knew about hotel hot tubs, which are all about 5000 degrees. Then last year I dipped my toes in my uncle's hot tub, and realized that hot tubs do not have to be 5000 degrees. So this year I basically lived in there. 90 degrees of absolute bliss, oh yes.