Friday, February 25, 2011

Seven Quick Takes: Things that make me happy edition

I could spent yet another post complaining that schoolwork is killing me, but that's boring. I bore myself. So, in no particular order:

1. The kids I babysit through Ministry to Moms. Especially that moment a week or two ago when they all ended up sitting on my lap and I read them a story. And that moment a few weeks ago when the 5-year-old twins were tearing around the house and the 2-year-old looked at me and said in this oh-so-mature voice, "Dey're siwwy." And that long stretch of time two days ago when all three of them sat and played with blocks and shared and took turns. FOR LIKE AN HOUR.

2. Snow days. And naps.

3. Melanie's entire blog. But especially this post. And all of these posts.

4. Weird, random, girly conversations with Mari.

5. For that matter, girly conversations with my mom. They aren't as delightfully weird, but it's still nice to just talk sometimes.

6. Scott. Obviously. For too many reasons to list. This week, particularly for his hardworkingness and appreciation for simple things and ability to genuinely have fun playing with small children. And for the fact that he keeps me grounded in reality (especially given that the reality in which he grounds me is full of his love for me).

7. Teresa. Again obviously, again for too many reasons to list. I seriously can't imagine what my world would be like without her in it. I have no idea how I survived for 18+ years without her.

For more quick takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook: Snow Day edition

Outside my window...

I am thinking...
How nice it is that my professor canceled class. I took a nap. It was glorious.

I am thankful for...
Snow, nice professors, and naps.

I am wearing...
My March for Life 2009 shirt. I have Mother Teresa on my stomach; it's a bit weird. Also a denim skirt. And then bare feet, because I'm that much of a hillbilly.

I am creating...
At the moment, a blog post. But sometime this afternoon I am going to do some exercises to flesh out some secondary characters in the Novel. (In some ways secondary characters are harder because so much of their lives goes on behind the scenes. As the author, I need to know all that behind the scenes stuff so I can make them convincing and consistent when they do get screentime.)

I am going...
To do what I just said. Also to work a little on my thesis.

I am reading...
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot and Divine Madness by Joseph Pieper, both for Honors tomorrow.

I am hoping...
That I get everything done I need to get done.

I am hearing...
"Breathe" by Taylor Swift.

Around the house dorm room...
A sort of general chaos of books and the detritus of college life. (I'm leaving this answer because my room isn't any tidier than it was last April.)

One of my favorite things...
Spending time with Scott, which I got to do this past weekend.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Working on the thesis. Thinking about applying for An Actual Job Out In The Real World. Panicking a little bit.

A picture thought I am sharing...
Go here.

Scott and I watched The Blind Side this past weekend and during the opening credits he started laughing. I asked why and he quoted this strip. Word-for-word. Because he is a dork.

I love my dork.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Seven Quick Takes: Home for the weekend edition

1. I walked in the door and said, "Hey Dad, on the way home Mom and I decided what we're going to name our next baby."

(The hypothetical baby that we're hypothetically going to adopt sometime this year.)

2. It occurs to me that I need to work on the language I use to refer to my younger sibling(s). For instance, I routinely refer to Teresa as "my baby" in everyday conversation. Considering that she's almost 17 years younger than I am, that might be open to misinterpretation.

3. With all the first/middle combos being tossed around, Teresa got very curious and started asking about everyone's middle names. After hearing the middle names of everyone in our immediate family, she decided that she wanted to change her name to Teresa Elizabeth. I was flattered. Mom says she can take Elizabeth as her Confirmation name. (Mom did, back in the day.)

4. Of course, she also asked what Scott's middle name was. And promptly became very concerned about lions. (Guess. :))

5. Scott is coming over tomorrow. :D

6. We're going to bake cookies together. I am really looking forward to it; I like a man who can cook. I'm not going to let him wash dishes, though; that would be too dangerous to my chastity.

7. Teresa is of the firm opinion that Scott is coming to visit her and has spent the last 16 hours or so (since she found out that he was coming) telling me about how she's going to show him her rocketship (I assured her that Scott loves rocketships) and how he's going to play hide-and-seek with her and so on and so forth.

For more Quick Takes, go to Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love this kid, part 789

Mom: "Teresa wants to show you her dress."

Teresa twirls for the camera.

Me: "Oh, your polka-dot dress. I think I've seen that one."

Teresa: "Did you say 'Oh my goodness!'?"

I laugh. "Yeah, I probably did."


Mom has a new cell phone from this company.

Teresa, looking at the phone: "Hi, Mawy."

Mom: "That's St. Catherine of Siena."

Teresa puts the phone to her ear. "Hi, Aunt Kaffy!"


This is what Teresa does while I'm talking to Mom:


She found some kite string and is explaining to me about how we'll build a kite and fly it very high. "Into da sun!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Dream

I want to stand before the man I love and promise him forever.

I want to carry a child in my body.

I want to hold that child in my arms, to watch him get big and strong and happy. I want to sit in a giant comfy chair with him and his brothers and sisters competing for space on my lap and finally settling into restless order as I read or sing or just sit and rock them.

I want to pull up in front of an 80-year-old farmhouse with irregular spaces and odd corners, and I want my children to pile out of our van and run in to explore, and then run back out again to find the trees and the creek and the long unpaved driveway on which they can run barefoot races. (In my dreams that driveway will never be a bad idea in the winter. It's my dream, okay?)

I want to meet a little child who doesn't look like me and I want him to grow big and strong and happy like his brothers and sisters and never doubt that he is one of us, even though his story is different when I sit with him in the comfy chair and rock him and tell him the story of how he came to us, how he captured my heart forever and how I'd never want it back anyway.

I want to see them turn into independent little people; I want to hear them come up with ideas of their very own. I want to teach them and learn from them and wonder how in the world I raised such amazing young men and women.

And when they're all grown and gone I want to be with my man again, rocking on the porch and thinking about how he captured my heart forever and how I'd never want it back anyway.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seven Quick Takes without the pretense

1. I don't know how to start this post. I'm not ready to write it, maybe. But if I wait till I'm ready I'll never write it. So I am taking my courage in my hands and writing.

2. In September I started going to counseling. I put it off for a long time, because...well, because I thought I wasn't sick enough. Because I thought I had to tell my parents.

Then one day I thought, If I wait till I'm ready to tell them I'll never go.

So I went, and I paid in cash, because my mother's name is on my checking account and I didn't want her to ask why I was spending $5 every two weeks on the health center.

I'm sorry, parents.

3. I have an anxiety disorder. Well, I probably have more than one, but my current diagnosis is Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. I love the deliciously specific nonspecificness of that term.

4. I am also clinically depressed. Was. I don't know. I like to think I'm getting better, but then days happen where I have to tell myself, "If you don't stop having days like this you have to go back to counseling."

5. I haven't been since the very beginning of December. I'm still trying to figure out what I think of it. The first session, I talked and she listened and I thought it was the best thing ever. The second session, she talked and I listened, and she said all the things I've heard a thousand times before and I thought all the things I'd thought a thousand times before, and I almost didn't go back.

But I had nowhere else to go, so I went back and I said, essentially, No, your answers are not adequate. Give me better ones. I found the answers eventually, but the part I'm not sure about is whether she helped me find them.

I think if nothing else counseling taught me how to put my foot down, how to say, "No, your answers are not adequate."

Then again, I haven't said that sort of thing to anybody else, so maybe I didn't learn my lesson well enough.

6. She thinks I have Asperger's Syndrome too. Or thought it. Maybe she's forgotten all about it by now.

I told her no, I do not have Asperger's. And then over Christmas I read a book. It was about a girl with Asperger's. It was fiction. It was supposed to be escape, you know? And it wasn't. It hurt, because it was the frustration of my whole life condensed into about a hundred pages.

I read a lot of stuff the next few days, and made an account on WrongPlanet.Net, and posted once. But I didn't again because I felt...not at home. What does it say about me that I feel out of place in a place intended for people who feel out of place in the world?

7. Trouble is, I know where I belong. I belong barefoot in a kitchen in Cincinnati, with my head bent down to fit in that spot atop his shoulder that is exactly the right size and shape for my head.

But I can't be there, and it feels like I spend every day with my chest hollowed out because of it, and I want to scream and break things and then curl up and cry, but God says quietly, "Wait," and so I wait. Even though I really want to collect everybody who ever said that Scott and I shouldn't get married (because we're too young, or too poor, or too full of problems) and face them and stomp my foot and say, "No, your answers are not adequate. Give me better ones."

And then God says, for the hundredth time, "Behold, I make all things new," and I can't say that's not an adequate answer to this crazy thing that my life has become. I have to end with that, even though it's too saccharine, even though I don't want to be pious like that, because that's what He has been using as the constant refrain of the last impossibly hard year of my life.

All things.

Even me.


I am not linking to Jen this week, because I want to post this now before I wake up and realize it's probably a bad idea.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So much for that

I didn't mention in my last post that I was feeling kind of sick, but I was. I dragged all morning, and by 1 p.m. I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep, but I was a good girl and went to the household fair instead. By 3 p.m. I was running into doorframes. This is something I always do when I'm overtired but it's taken me 21+ years to develop the self-awareness and...humility, recognize that I need to let go of any non-critical plans I have for the rest of the day and GET SOME SLEEP.

So I crashed until 4:45 Mass, had a weird smorgasboard dinner at the Pub (which included mooching cheesy breadsticks from my roommate) rather than going to the overcrowded cafeteria (eating there on the weekends is badly overstimulating for me even when I'm not sick and frazzled) and then tried to take it easy for the rest of the evening, though I did manage to get in touch with somebody I needed to get in touch with for Take #6. So altogether I think I did about four things out of my seven. I guess I know what I'm doing today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Seven Probably Not Quick Things I Need to Do Today

So you all can stop envying my leisurely college-student life.

1. Type up the 3 1/2 pages of notes I took at a talk last night and make it into a newspaper article. It was actually a fantastic talk (by this fellow, about everything you can do with adult stem cells) and I think I got some good notes, but still. There is a disadvantage to being a retro journalist and taking all notes by hand, and that disadvantage is transcribing.

2. Finishing edits on another chapter of the Novel. I had some serious writer's block for weeks and finally just sat myself down and said, "You are not getting up until you finish this scene." It took me a couple hours and 1000 words but it worked, and in the week since then I've rewritten/edited about 2 1/2 more chapters. (Each chapter has maybe 3-6 scenes in it; most scenes are closer to 500 words than 1500.)

I realize this take is technically a leisure activity, but I file it under mental health maintenance. (I need to remember to write the post on why writing fiction is worth it to me even if I never get published.)

3. Study for a quiz next Tuesday--for my Editing class, so it'll be more time-consuming than hard. Yay real-life experience making class work easier.

4. Copy edit for real. If any of the writers have sent stuff in. If not, start emailing the ones who've missed their deadlines. Again, more time consuming than actually difficult.

5. Find more sources for my thesis. (I have 7; I need 30.) This might be hard, and definitely will be time-consuming.

6. Hunt down information on another article I want to write for same class as the article I mentioned in my first take.

7. Go to the Household Fair and man the Servants table for 2 hours. This is harder than it sounds. Given that I was inducted almost 3 years ago, you'd think I'd be better at what I call the "elevator speech" about our household, but I'm not. Maybe because I've been in so long. 3 years ago I could rattle off 3 or 4 things that made me fall in love with this household, but now if you asked me I'd just say, "...everything?" We're like an old married couple now. If you pretend that my household is a single entity that's male, despite being made up of a dozen women. Yeah, I'll just quit with that analogy while I'm ahead.

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes.