Sunday, June 26, 2005

Same Page, Different State

Isn't it funny how my blog entries look quite the same, even though I'm writing from Kentucky?

Let's see.... This state is very beautiful and green and muggy. The tops of the trees look like fingers sticking up out of the hilly foliage, which is different from other hilly places I've seen. There are fireflies, which is a big highlight that almost compensates for the humidity. From what I saw today, it looks like there are a bunch of rolling green hills and white picket fences extending out beyond the road where I'll be doing my clinical rotation. I mean to explore that a bit tomorrow after work.

My apartment would be beautiful--2-story, 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, huge kitchen, huge living room, small back deck looking out over a pond--if only it were cleaner. But I'm working diligently to fix that! So, in fact, my apartment will be beautiful.

My roommates are "nice" (from the Latin, ... etc.) Oh, well. It's only 8 weeks.

Kentucky has country stations!! Southwestern Connecticut doesn't do that so much.

My blogging will decrease somewhat over the next few weeks, as I will not only be posting "relevant clinical experiences" on my course discussion board for school, but I will also be sending mass emails to those who have asked for regular updates. If you are not currently receiving those emails , but would like to, email me your address and I will add you to my list. (check your Inbox to find out if you're receiving them; I already sent one)

It seems like I should give a money-back guarentee at this point in the advertisement, but I won't. If you send me money, I'm going to keep it!

Since my known regular readers do receive my emails, I will be using this blog to post other little tidbits and small pieces of information, when I post at all. Like my Europe trip updates, I feel certain that the email updates are something only my mother could read in their entirety. They tend to be rather complete--almost minute-by-minute accounts. Actually, Mike Austin assured me recently that he himself read every single "documentary" I emailed while I was in Europe... Maybe he needed a break from Lady Philosophy's ramblings at the time!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Homesick already

Took a walk by the sea
I'd forgotten what it meant to me
Yesterday was a long long time ago...

~Sister Hazel, Look to the Children

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


This evening I tried to get Tony interested in the NYC Marathon idea. He laughed and told me that Fr. C. had already warned him about me trying to talk people into training with me. "I'm a sprinter," he said. And then later, "I only like running after a soccer ball." I guess that won't work.

Then the tables turned.
It started out with innocent questions.
Tony: "Do you do any other sports besides running?"
Me: "No."

Then it turned to flattery.
Tony: "I hear you're very athletic."
Me: "Hah! Whoever told you that is either delusional, or greatly exaggerating."
Belita: "What do you mean? You're amazing in Knock-Out."
Me: "What??"
Belita: "Weren't you always winning when we played Knock-Out?"
Me: "No, my friend. I was the designated loser. I could run fine, back and forth; the problem was getting the ball through the hoop."

Later, the questions were more pointed.
Tony: "What is your class schedule next year."
Me: "Ahh... um..."
Tony: "Don't worry, I'm not trying to recruit you."

Finally, the whole truth.
Tony: "Ok, I am trying to recruit you. I want you to teach Phys.Ed."
Me: "What??!! umm...Why don't you teach Phys.Ed?"
Tony: "Well, I am--to the boys. I need someone to do Phys.Ed. for the girls."
Me: "Tony. I have not only school, but also a GA position, a part-time job, and the Maria Goretti Society."
Tony: "Wow. Ok..."

But, hey. I'm already getting a few ideas that are prompting second thoughts...

There's always something to pray about!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Parade of Cities

Ruth and Belita will arrive at 4am from D.C.

8am Mass is in Stamford--south of here (ie, on the morning commute-route to the City)--which means that we'll have to leave the house around 7:15am to make it in time.

Good thing Fr. Check makes strong coffee at this rectory, because the meeting with him and Tony at 8:30am will find 3 of us with drooping eyelids, no doubt!

Since I work at 10am, Tony will be the NYC tour guide for the rest of the day. =)

Frank and Tony have a meeting at 7pm, so it'll just be "the girls" for dinner at Sharon's house Tuesday evening.

Ruth leaves on Wednesday, but Belita's staying longer!

Wednesday evening is my last dinner in Connecticut for a while; John Paul, Angela, Tony, and Belita (and Frank and Sharon, of course!) will be here for that.

Thursday Belita and I will visit my grandparents and relatives on Long Island.

Friday we leave from Long Island to drive to D.C. where Belita lives.

Friday night will be spent either in D.C. with the D.C. girls, or in West Virginia at Camille's house.

Saturday I'll be driving to and arriving in Lexington, Kentucky!

yikes. getting nervous....

what was that?

I took the two younger children to the pool today while Henry, the eldest, stayed home with mom to greet the cousins when they arrived. We had a fantastic time, and came home later than expected because the time just flew by!

Kris told me when we got back that it was a good thing I had taken both of the younger ones. "It gave Henry and I the chance to have quite a serious talk," she told me. "He came up to me and said, 'Hey, Mom! What's abortion?' I said, 'Oh, you saw the back of Shannon's car?' ....I'm glad the other kids weren't around, because I would have had to ignore them completely in order to concentrate on this talk with Henry. It was very good... Thank you."

I have two bumper stickers on the back of my car: a quotation from Mother Teresa, and a quotation from John Paul II. Then my license frame says "Choose Life" across the top and "Pray to end Abortion" across the bottom.

I understand the aversion that some people have to bumper stickers. I personally don't like them when they are making a statement about who the driver is, or their political gripes. But I've read a few stories where pro-life bumper stickers have touched mothers of unborn babies, and saved lives. When I first bought my little (2001 black SC2 Saturn 3-door) coupe and put the bumper stickers on, I remember someone I worked with at the time saying, "Well, no one will ever wonder what your views are on abortion!" I was somewhat annoyed that anyone would assume I wanted to parade my "views," just for the rest of the world to see what I thought.
Because that's not why I have the bumper stickers.
I have them with the hope that they might facilitate some good.

Maybe today they did.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Taking New England

Another step toward victory was made this weekend in the Church's ongoing battle for recovery and renewal in the wake of confusion left by the Second Vatican Council.

That is, Tony moved into the Rectory. He met Dr. Alice von Hildebrand on Saturday, and according to Father Check, "she loved him." I talked to him today; he's so excited to be here, and ready to get to work!

But that's not all, folks! More "steps" are in the works:
Mike Austin might move up here next year.
Another UD/Catholic U couple want to come up after they get married this year.
Ruth is coming Tuesday with Belita to meet Father Check and Tony. If all goes really well, she might consider moving up here.
Blaha will be "up the road" in Massachusetts this coming year.
Who knows Gordon's plans, but a carpentry shop in the great state of New Hampshire has not yet been ruled out.

The famous "Catholic community" in Washington, D.C is less than a 5-hour drive from here, with busfare specials from NYC, which is less than a 1-hour drive. Boston (in the fall) is about a 3-hour drive. All these young Catholics are moving in; ...this Connecticut location is suddenly becoming a prime spot!

And --of course-- I'm OFF TO KENTUCKY for the summer!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Check it Out

Right in my (sort-of) backyard...

"The mission of the Augustine Institute is to provide graduate students a coherent and unified instruction in Scripture, Catholic doctrine and history, as well as the pedagogical and leadership skills to impart the same to others. Under the patronage of St. Augustine of Hippo and in imitation of St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron of teachers and common doctors, the instructors and students of the Institute endeavor to place themselves under God's grace for the purpose of being formed in memory, intellect and will, into effective instruments for the renewal of Catholic culture by a union of faith and life in the New Evangelization. The whole of this task is undertaken in a spirit of filial obedience to the pastors of the Church and in full submission to the Magisterium."

Plus, the advantage of being in the most beautiful state ever, within one of the best Archdioceses in the country....

Why am I in Connnecticut, again, Lord?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Strong Coffee

"Do you think you know how to make coffee in this? I have to take care of a few things."
Fr. Check was referring to the industrial-sized coffee maker in the rectory's pantry at 8:45am.

My over-enthusiastic reply: "YES!"

I had babysat until 2am, gotten home at 2:30am, and gone to sleep at 3:30am. Then I had woken up at 6am, put my bike rack and bike on my car by 7am, driven to the auto shop by 7:30am, and rode my bike to 8am Mass.
After a rigorous examination of conscience and Confession, I was ready for some coffee!

"I hope he doesn't mind..." I thought as I scooped and scooped and scooped the blessed black grounds into the filter.

I had nothing to fear.

"Is that coffee ready yet?" Fr. Check returned after a while.

"Yes, here it is," I said, preparing to pour him a cup.

"I hope you made it strong. Is it strong?" He pulled out the basket and inspected the contents of the filter. "Yeah, that's pretty good," he concluded. "We like our coffee strong at this rectory."

Whew! Thank goodness, because that coffee almost definitely saved my life today.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Unimportant Phone Calls

"Your phone is ringing," Sharon tells me. We're at her in-laws' house, Father Check has just arrived, Frank's brother Mike is making drinks, and his sister Rosa is trying to herd everyone from the kitchen to the living room.

"Oh, I should turn that off," I say. I usually leave my phone in the car, but Frank's mom was wondering whether (his brother) John Paul's fiancee, Angela, was coming, so she asked me to go get my phone and call her. I didn't used to have service at their house, either, but with my new phone, ... =)

I look to see who it was. My Uncle Frank. (!!!) Why is he calling? He was home yesterday, so he's probably not driving through Connecticut on his way home from somewhere. Would he leave NYC to go somewhere north of Connecticut at 7pm on a Wednesday night? I was just there. Did something happen since I left? He didn't leave a message? Is it unimportant? Or too important to leave on voicemail? Uncle Frank hardly ever calls me.

Sharon sees my face. "Call back. See what it is. It's ok. It'll only take a minute. No one will notice."

I call back. Unlce Frank picks up.


Hi, Uncle Frank, what's going on?

I got my answer. I called your dad.


I'm in a restaurant here, and I just met some people from Colorado. I wanted to impress them with everywhere I've been besides Pikes Peak, and I couldn't remember the name of the place where I went on business a few years back. It's Durango.

Oh, really. I didn't even know that.

Oh, well your dad helped me out. I'm telling these people how much I love Colorado.

Oh, yeah? Do they believe you?

Yeah, I'm telling them how I really wish I could move out there.

(I'm laughing at this point, all worries diffused. Uncle Frank is the man who told me last year he doesn't drive outside of the City: "I don't DO fog, deer, or snow," he told me. "Will there be snow at Erin's wedding?" After almost everyone in the family assured him of the unlikeliness of snow that particular weekend in November, he was greeted by a White Christmas-type snowfall, and fog that covered the mountains all weekend.)

...yeah, meanwhile, I'm just praying there won't ever be another wedding out there.

We exchange a few words about the unlikeliness of any Colorado weddings in the near future, and then hang up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Need Digital

I lost my camera. It was in my booth at the April wedding I went to, next to my purse. My purse was there at the end of the night, but not my camera. I asked a few of the staff members who were cleaning up. Nope, I finally lost my camera. My trusty, black Canon that I had become so used to, so adept at taking good pictures on.

I was the picture-taker in my class this past year. Then they heard I lost my weapon at the "California wedding" (my classmates keep track of all my weddings by which state I travel to). My 4-foot roommate, Jess, gets up on a table, "Ok, everyone, bring in $2 tomorrow, and we'll buy her another camera."

Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

So I bought a disposable one for the "Colorado wedding" trip. What a pain. I knew the pictures wouldn't be great. So I didn't take a lot. Still, I wanted to see what I DID get!

You do one-hour developing?
Do you do pictures on CD, too?
Not one hour.
How much longer will it take?
3 to 4 days.
3 to 4 DAYS?
Ummm, thanks anyway. I'll take this somewhere else.

I need one-hour developing, and pictures on CD, too.
No problem. Fill this out. Come back at 2pm.
They'll be all ready at 2pm?

My pictures..."G"...I dropped them off at one...
Was it the little guy who told you they'd be done?
Sorry. He didn't tell you the machine was broken. We're trying to fix it. We dunno how long it's going to take.
Did you already pull the camera apart?
Yes. It went through the first machine, but not the second one. The second one is broken.
When should I come back?
We're just going to call everybody.
You'll call me?
Will it be before 5, do you think?
It shouldn't take more than 2 hours.

I'm here to see if my pictures are ready.
Yes, here they are. I'll give you a discount--I'll only charge you for the pictures.
I thought someone was going to call me.
Yes, we would call you when it's finished.
You mean, they're not finished?
The machine was not finished being fixed.
So, ...are my pictures ok?
Yes, but he only got finished with the machine a few minutes ago.

(I had given them my cell phone number, and thought it was clear that I was interested in when my pictures would be ready, not when the machine would be fully repaired.)

Moral of the Story: I need a digital camera.


Tuesday I decide to take advantage of an unexpected day off and visit my grandparents. Since they only live about an hour and a half drive away, I plan to head down after the "noon Mass."

Father Check has the 8 o'clock Mass on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Which means that Monsignor DiGiovanni, the pastor, has the "noon Mass" on those days. The "noon Mass" begins at 12:10pm, but we still refer to it as the "Noon." Everyone knows, though, that if Monsignor is saying Mass, you CANNOT BE LATE. Because if you're late, you'll miss it.

Seriously. The famed Borden Express at TAC is nothing compared with Monsignor's daily Mass. It's beautiful, it's reverent, and boy is it over quickly!

So Tuesday. Noon Mass. It's Monsignor. I can't be late. And I plan well. I won't be late. Drop off my stuff at the dry-cleaners, fill the tank with gas, save the bank for later because I don't want to be late.

Then the I-95 nightmare: traffic. Ugghh. So I creep along for about two miles, then decide on an alternate route. But someone must have programmed all the red lights for me on these back roads. I go 70mph between lights when I can--Monsignor himself told me that I should only worry about the imperfection of breaking the speed limit if I am endangering lives, so I make sure it is a safe 70mph. Besides, I am trying to get to Mass.

The lefthand turn arrow flashes green. I forgo leaning on my horn as the car in front of me sits absolutely still, the driver obviously rendered temporarily colorblind. Finally he sees it. Yellow...I screech into the intersection--I should remember to tell Joe to look at those tires when he does my trip-check on Friday.

I jog/speed walk toward the entrance. I check my watch: 12:11pm. Not bad. It will be 12:13 by the time this old man ahead of me gets up the steps, though. He graciously opens the door for me, and I glide in, catching up some holy water on the way.

Monsignor is just finishing up the First Reading. I re-check my watch. Yup, only 12:13. I silently chuckle as I slip into the pew, trying to catch the last few phrases.

Uncharacteristically, there is no homily. Maybe it's the heat--it's sweltering in the church, especially with the humidity. But this means that the poor old lady who wanders in "7 minutes late" is just in time for Consecration. The distribution of holy communion starts at 12:23pm. "Thanks be to God" and the Saint Michael prayer all finish before 12:35. Monsignor sprints off, altar-left, and my Thanksgiving almost doubles the amount of time I spend in the church.

This evening Father Check came to Frank's parents' house for dinner, so the whole "family" was there (including me).

Frank to Father Check: "Father Check, if you're running late and you get to Mass after the Gospel reading, can you still receive communion? I'm talking about daily Mass, not Sunday."

Father Check: "ummm, WEeelll..."

Frank: "--you really try to get there, but you know, unforeseen circumstances--"
Me: "...or it's Monsignor...".

Father Check chuckles and shakes his head: "I don't know how he does it," he marvels. "As long as you don't make a habit of it," he concludes.

Sharon and I try to aim for noon, especially when we know it will be Monsignor.

Maybe that's why they call it the Noon Mass.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


First, I got my plane ticket! August 22nd-31st. Pray that Sharon doesn't have the baby early, because I won't know about it. I'll be canoeing through Stillwater Canyon with Erin-Roommate for much of the time, out of range and therefore, out of touch! Yes, that's pretty much all settled, as well. Wow, we're so organized--planning a full 10 weeks in advance!

Second, I was unexpectedly invited to a picnic at the Villa Maria Guadalupe, which is the convent of the Sisters of Life. A beautiful religious order, they also have a beautiful piece of property. Plans are being stirred up now to hold our next Maria Goretti Society retreat there in the fall...

Third, while at the picnic, one of the women honored for her support of the Sisters' pro-life efforts has a brother running in the upcoming NYC Marathon. Mother Agnes says he's "Running for Life," and needs a team! At first, I had the excitement and willingness of 4 other people at my table, including Fr. C. It quicky dwindled to maybe-one, when they realized how serious I was. But I'm still going to check it out. Maybe that means the whole disappointing lottery step can be skipped!

Fourth, dearest Bean somehow managed to teach me a few computer tricks via email, and I finally got my sidebar links up! Now if I could only learn the profile-picture maneuver, ... =]

And there was much rejoicing.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


While I wait for the children's bus to bring them home, I am on a mission to find an airline ticket during the last few weeks of August from NY to CO for less than $200.

The closest I've come is $203 (American Airlines, special deal on travelocity)


and looking...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Today was muggy, muggy, hot, humid, icky.

But I ran before the sun pierced the fog, so although I was drenched from the sticky humidity, the breeze off the Sound was unhindered by yellow rays from above.

Then Sharon and I spent the entire day inside the air-conditioned kitchen, listening to a large fraction of my limited CD collection, and unpacking dishes. Yes, almost two years after being married, Sharon is unpacking her dishes. It's a project still in progress. The trick is to take her dishes out of the wrapping and fit similar species of Uncle Mike's dishes back into it. She's been using his kitchen stuff for so long, she barely remembers what she herself has stowed away! Today was like Christmas, looking at her dinner plates, admiring all the different beautiful platters and crystal bowls she's received, and discovering that she owns two basters!

"I didn't know I had a baster! I just bought one a while ago because I needed it. Do you need a baster?"

of all things...

Hopefully, Uncle Mike won't suddenly return from and demand that we switch everything back. Meanwhile, the wine glasses and barware (my favorites!) are next on the list.

Monday, June 06, 2005


This afternoon, while Kris was doing some grocery shopping, I did some PROM (passive range of motion) exercises with Andrew on his bed. At one point, he wanted to "take a break" and "stand up."
When Andrew "stands up," that means he has his feet on the surface while I hold the rest of his [dead] weight upright under his arms. This time, the surface was his bed, because he wanted to "stand" looking at the framed Elton John poster right next to it. The poster has Elton John in the middle, and pictures of albums containing all of his greatest hits all around the border. ...In other words, a lot to look at! I kept encouraging him to "push up with your feet" in order to give my arms a little help (not to mention therapeutic exercise for him!) But he was so engrossed by all of it, he couldn't concentrate enough to help out much. Finally, I made a bargain that if we did a few more stretches, he could "stand up" again.

As we continued the PROM, 5 year-old Ellen walked in. Usually I would describe this girl as 5-going-on-15, but every once in a while, I'm reminded of her little-ness.
She gazed up at the poster.
"That's Elton John," she told me.
"Yes, I know. Andrew and I were just inspecting it."
"Is that his phone number?" she asked me.
"Whaaa..? Where are you looking, honey?"
"That! On the poster! Is that his phone number: one-nine-seven-zero-two..."

I looked up to see "Greatest Hits 1970-2002"

Thursday, June 02, 2005


"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
~Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta


"Do you have a six-pack?" my high school sisters asked me the last time I was home.

They weren't talking about beer. They were lying back on my parents' bed, hands folded behind their heads, watching some nonsense sitcom when I wandered into the room.

I think my amazingly imposing physique prompted them to ask. (take note of uncharacteristically thick sarcasm)

So, my highly intelligent reply was, "Girls can only have four-packs." I had heard this from a classmate of mine, when we were talking about the difference in body fat content of healthy male and female bodies.

"Well, I have a six-pack!" my youngest sister--16 in two weeks--immediately lifted up her shirt and raised her head off the bed. She played her right fingers backhanded down her abdomen, proud of the two little rows of indentations.

"Wow. I guess you do!" I said, thinking to myself, "no wonder the doctor says she's underweight."

Well, my coughing fits since I landed back in New York have put me in the running for a six-pack, as well. Or at least, they are making me feel like I should be, anyway!

On Monday, I was doubled over on the back porch of Frank's brother's house, incessantly throwing forth dry, dog-sneezing-sounding coughs. Another of his brothers, Antonio, turned to me and made the keen observation: "Are you in pain?"
I patted my abdomen just below my ribs (that is, my diaphragm) and responded, "It's --cough, grimace-- sore --cough-- here --grimace-- from the coughing."

Tonight, after I picked up Frank and Sharon from the airport, we stopped by the restaurant that Antonio manages, so Frank could pick up his car. Antonio was just outside.

He patted his abdomen, "How do you feel? Any better?"

"It's not sore anymore," I told him. "I think I'm getting buff."

Frank's Mom is convinced I've developed allergies.
"You know, your body's system changes every seven years."
But...26 isn't a multiple of 7....

And ...I checked. No six-pack yet.