Thursday, September 29, 2005


No, I still haven't found my camera. But this was one of the last photos I downloaded from it.
A friend of mine, Greg, told me that since this child's birth, "Grace" has become his favorite name.
This child's parents have told me how difficult it is for them to find a physical therapist who has experience with children with Down Syndrome; these days, not many of them survive the womb.
She's a handful when she decides to be, but she gives the best hugs, and her smiles are genuine and joyful.
I have had the privilege of babysitting her and her 3 siblings almost every Saturday night now for about a year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


A few of my classmates informed me today of my erroneous opinion that we are taking 17 credits this semester.

Oh, no. Not 17. For if the number was 17, it might be reasonable--although still challenging, still difficult when trying to maintain a "life."

No, we are taking 21 credits this semester. 21!! Yes, I double-checked, even after each credit was counted out loud to me this afternoon. I needed to see for myself.

It's actually kind of a relief. I was starting to get concerned by the fact that I was already stressing out during the third week of class. I was wondering if I was becoming a wimp, if I was having an honest-to-goodnes nervous breakdown, or if I was perhaps just getting too old for school.

Oh, no. Well, perhaps. But it might actually be because I'm taking 21 course credits this semester, with no one class being any "cushier" than the rest.

Combine that with a Type A perfectionist neurosis, and it's still worse than some.

Heck, some of my classmates were complaining that because of our exam today, they were forced to miss watching "House" last night.
My response: "You watch TV?"

...maybe I'm still a spaz.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Content with Imperfection?

The weekend was great, as Katie and Elizabeth surprised us by coming up to visit with Vic. We all cooked out at Frank and Sharon's house Saturday night--probably the last cook-out of the season for all of us! It was good times, great company. And I think Sharon especially enjoyed meeting all the people behind all the names she knew so well!

In other news, my new discovery is that I will be much more functional if I can just accept that I cannot put my "all" into everything I do this semester. For example, I am not expecting an "A" on my first exam Wednesday. As usual, I will aim for it, but because of my inability to appropriate sufficient study time, I will not expect it.

Meanwhile, my re-vamped schedule allows me a certain amount of prayer, sleep, exercise and recreation aside from academics and work. The idea is that in this schedule of moderation, I will find peace. Hopefully my prefectionist nature won't disturb the schedule (or the peace!).

My new personal motto, credit St. Augustine:
"Tranquillitas ordinis."

Friday, September 23, 2005



Walking down the highschool-turned-university hallway, I expired it slowly and labriously after my last class of the week.

"Wow. What's wrong?" my friend Hope asked. I'm typically hyper, upbeat, even borderline abnoxious in my excitement for the weekend.

"Oh, you know," I answered. "Just the feeling that it's Friday, but there's so much I have to get done this weekend."

So much to do...but great things are happening this weekend:
Vic's coming up, and Nick's coming down!
I hope to see them sometime tomorrow; meanwhile, Ruth and Becky will be the primary hostesses for our out-of-town visitors. It will be so good to hang out with some of the old gang again, so spontaneously.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Every day you may make progress.
Every step may be fruitful.
Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path.
You know you will never get to the end of the journey.
But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

~Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, September 17, 2005


This is my new nick-name.

I used to not know what it was. Now I hear it all too often.

LoJack is a one of those technological wonders by which law enforcement can locate a stolen car just by pressing a button.

Providentially, I always make the sort of friends that look out for me when I forget to look out for myself. Particularly, I forget to look out for things that belong to myself. Incidentally--and not unrelated to the subject--Saint Anthony has become my favorite saint. He's one of the friends I have looking out for me. Everywhere I am--at home in Colorado, at school in Connecticut, with friends anywhere else, even when I was in Kentucky this summer--God sends me people to compensate for my airheaded tendencies.

I used to leave my college books in random places; because of where I went to college, I would always find them in the exact same random places, even if it was a few weeks later.

While backpacking in Europe, a quick decision was made that Alissa would be the keeper of all important documents--after I lost two strips of 10 subway tickets in Paris!

At least once a day, I walk into a classroom and have a moment of confusion, followed by slight apprehension. Then I turn around and see one of my friends swinging my [insert here: Nalgene bottle/power cord/lunch sack/planner/car keys] out in front of her: "LoJack!"

Or after our last class, I'll pack up my things, start walking down the hallway, and suddenly stop to ask out loud, "Where are my car keys?" I then proceed to shake and listen to each pocket attached to my person, be it my purse, backpack, jeans, or what have you. And I hear it again from my chuckling friends: "LoJack!"

Sharon has run out of her house before with a bag of my belongings that I passed on my way out the door.

Yesterday, I called my friend Hope (she was in the phone book) from my workplace's phone, in order to get Janel's number. When I finally got Janel on the phone, she asked, "How... are you calling me?"
"Oh, good!" I replied. "I was hoping I left it in your car and not at the auto shop."
"Yeah, I saw it under the passenger seat, and immediately knew whose it was. Who else leaves her cell phone behind?"

After meetings with Fr. Check, he usually has to remind me to grab my purse from under my chair.
This afternoon, I arrived a half-hour late to meet with him--because even though I keep a calendar, I didn't look at it today. Then I left my car keys in his office. He had to leave the confessional to let me back into the rectory!

The other day, Tony was musing on the difference between men and women, and one reason they were made for each other. His theory had to do with men generally seeing the big picture, while women notice the important details. (I had just reminded him that he had to make a lefthand turn "here" to get back to his house.) Ahh, he will also come to know me...!

People who know me are not surprised when I say I lost something. I don't expect sympathy anymore. All I expect now is some version of eye-rolling or head-shaking in mock disbelief.

And then I wait for it: "LoJack!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


This article is an assignment for class on Thursday, when we start talking about cultural issues in PT practice.
It's light reading.
Do you get the message?
Give me a short reaction, if you have a moment.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sunshine on the Sound

The Maria Goretti Society Family picnic was a hit on Sunday. Everyone had a marvelous time. I had plenty of help getting all the supplies to the convent's boathouse before the first family arrived; then the beautiful weather, the boats, foot paths, and large supply of food took care of entertainment!

Becky and Tony both left early to prepare for school this coming week, but Tony took Teresa's and my car keys with him by mistake. Since Tony had also been in an overturned canoe that afternoon, his waterlogged cell phone was unresponsive. None of us knew Becky's by heart, and Ruth was out of town. My phone was with my car keys, so we tried calling that a few times, but they must not have heard it.
Teresa and I both made use of some extra prayer time in the convent's chapel long after everyone left, before Tony was located and directed back to rescue us!

Fr. Check joked that we could just stay and be the next two "automatic" vocations. The idea was not too unappealing, actually!

But it was back to school Monday, for the first full week of class!

Happy Birthday to my younger brother-in-law, Bean's LH! =]
Blessings on his endeavors, and the future of his family.

And while we're on the subject, let me just say that my family has been so blest with the brothers-in-law I've acquired thus far. I've come to appreciate the closeness of my family; it's beautiful, but bizarre to many an "outsider." The personalities that have emerged among my siblings are entertaining, as well as exasperating. But our whole family is bound together by Faith and love. Both of my brothers-in-law settled into our crazy family dynamic without so much as a ripple. From what I have seen, there has not been any hesitancy to make our family their own. Even with all of the family's quirkiness, they readily accepted everyone with love, as part of their new extended family.

May we be so blest with the rest of our -in-laws in the years to come!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fog's rollin' in off the East River bank

Like a shroud it covers Bleeker Street

I always hear people mention "The Village" as if it is an upscale kind of place--the place to go, the place to be. In the real estate ads, apartments in "The Village" are outrageously expensive. Anyone who lives there has to have quite a bit of money.

Last night, I went there with some friends. Three friends from my class, to be precise: last year, the four of us gradually solidified into a unified study group; we all happen to be a few years older than the other girls in our class. Our common attitude and point in life is a bit less "social/party," and a little more "professional/time to settle down." One of these girls is the first person I met from my class; she's actually been dating one of my college friends' brothers for about 4 years now!
We had a fantastic dinner at a place called Agave, which I would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in gourmet Mexican food.

The girls dutifully showed me the point of the Empire State Building against the night sky. Then we walked aroung "The Village."

Fills the alleys where men sleep
Hides the shepherd from the sheep

I followed them up and down sidewalks, passing every kind of bar, restaurant, and cafe you can imagine. There were homeless men sitting in many doorways. Piles of trash lined the curbs. Apartment windows above were open and uncurtained. Dirt from the sidewalk cracks found its way onto my sandaled feet. I discreetly held my breath for every cigarette I passed, and soon found myself gasping for air that tasted only slightly cleaner.

Voices leaking from a sad cafe

Cars squeezed down narrow alleyways; taxis and buses never stopped honking. There was outdoor seating at many of the eating establishments; what view were these people enjoying?

"This certainly doesn't look anything like luxurious living to me!" I commented, only slightly concerned that I was talking to New Yorkers.
"Oh, but there's a park up here, and it's really nice. NYU is a few blocks that way, " came the reply.
"In the park there are chess boards, and people get possessive about the chess board that they use all the time--it becomes their chessboard," came the next explanation.

Smiling faces try to understand
I saw a shadow touch a shadow's hand
We finally entered a small, comfortable restaurant for some champagne. At this point I was completely disillusioned--and I realized fully that I am not a "city person." My innards turned over and I felt a little of what Meg felt in Little Women at Annie Moffat's coming out party. I glanced at my smiling friends' little black outfits, perfect make-up and styled hair. My white-and-pink sundress suddenly felt like "country linen," but I smiled as I tossed my head back and felt my soft, unstyled mane slide back down over my shoulders. I knew I did not understand how people could so carelessly enjoy themselves in such a crowded, polluted, trendy neighborhood--a neighborhood that also "houses" people suffering from extreme poverty in its doorways. But unlike Meg from Little Women, I did not want to understand. And I started to feel a dangerous pride in my country-like simplicity.

A poet reads his crooked rhyme
Holy, holy is his sacrament
Thirty dollars pays your rent
The rest of the evening, I watched people, determined to give them the benefit of the doubt. They must have some humanity. There's a smile. A genuine smile? Anyway, it's a smile.
While we waited on a corner for my friend's husband to pick us up, a man came over and with a lovely English accent, asked if we could tell him where The Village was.
"You're in it, dude," was my friend's answer.
"Am I really?" he said, in a tone of disbelief. I knew how he felt.
"Yeah. This is it," she said. "Where do you need to go?"
"Um, I'm not sure. A bar of some sort. I guess I assumed I would know when I got there," he said, a little absently.
"So, you don't know. [pause] You don't know anything?" my friend couldn't believe it. I started to feel bad for the guy. She was being a little harsh; the poor man was lost, for goodness' sake!
"I suppose you're right to put it like that," he laughed a little nervously. "Um, ...Greenwich Street?"
"Greenwich Street or Greenwich Avenue?" she asked.
"Greenwich Street, I think."
"I don't know of a Greenwich Street, only Greenwich Avenue." Gee whiz, girl! You grew up here! Couldn't you have handled it without the "Street" detail?
"Ok, where is Greenwich Avenue?"
"Well, where do you need to be on Greenwich Ave?" she said.
He thought for a few seconds, then pulled a street name from the back porch of his memory.
She directed him 5 blocks east of our corner.
"Five blocks in that direction?" he asked.
"Yes!" she answered, just a tad too impatiently.
As he walked away, I wondered out loud where he was from.
"He's from somewhere," she said. I pointed out to her then that she was rather abrupt with the gentleman, and was contributing to the reason why people think New Yorkers are nasty.
"You're right," she admitted. "I was a bit rough on him, I guess. But how can you not even know where you're going?"
I heard a church bell softly chime
In a melody sustainin'
On our way out of The Village, we passed Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, tightly wedged into a row of apartments and shops. I crossed myself and said a prayer.
It's a long road to Caanan

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What a Day and Ahhh

Premise: I could have sworn that today was a holy day of obligation.

Mass is at 7:30 instead of the usual 8am down the street on holy days. I have class at 8:30am, so I usually can't make that Mass in the mornings. But this morning I arrived at 7:25, and immediately became skeptical of my assumption, as there were only 2 older men in the church. Sure enough, five minutes later, they started the rosary.
I stayed, deciding to honor Our Lady on her birthday with these gentle local parishioners. Then I jetted out before the First Reading in order to get to class--quick stop at home to pick up my forgotten folder-full-of-every-important-piece-of-paper and thermos of coffee!

In my twenty minute break conveniently wedged into a full day of class, I managed to get my TB skin test read, and the final line of my medical forms signed. Phew: I'm legal to work in the clinic again this year!

After class, I met with our graphic design representative to begin a brochure announcing a continuing education course given by one of my professors. Then a quick change of clothes, and I was off to work!
The 40-minute drive to Stamford actually gives me a break from thought--and today it was a chance to make a few phone calls for the Maria Goretti Society family picnic this Sunday!

I actually relaxed a bit when I got to work: today, Henry and Ellen were out in the driveway giving their parents' vehicle a car wash--with a very small sponge and a very big hose!
After haggling with Henry about the extent of service needed, I was able to secure a full-service wash for my own vehicle, while I wandered inside to find Andrew.
Andrew and I listened to music, read stories, did a few Math problems, and talked about Disney movies.
Putting dinner on the table, washing the dishes, giving showers, and disciplining sibling spats all flowed within the relaxed atmosphere of being in a home for the afternoon / evening. I really think this job is going to be the biggest blessing in my hectic semester!
When John (their dad) got home, Andrew and I were struggling through the last of his Math problems. He offered to take over, so I asked where Ellen and Henry were.
"Have they been angelic all afternoon?" he asked. "Because they're curled up in Ellen's bed, and Henry is reading to her--from the Bible!"
Wow! I told him he could have T.V. time if he helped her with her 30 minutes of reading, but ... (!!)

After giving them kisses on their "angelic" heads, I was able to catch the second half of Theology on Tap, invite a few more people to the picnic, discuss picnic logistics with Fr. Check, and touch base with my Italian "foster-family!"

On my 40-minute drive back home, I spoke to one sister, and during my latte-preparation at home, I spoke to another sister.
I then emailed my "continuing education" professor person to update her on brochure-layout status, emailed the graphic design people with the stuff they asked for, and am now about to start my class preparation work for tomorrow. (It's around 1:15am).

And yes, thanks to the aforementioned latte, even more will be accomplished before "bedtime!"

So begins the semester....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Much has happened...

First off, there's no place like HOME!!
...where I was able to spend about ten days, hiking and running on mountain trails, hanging out with family and friends, watching scenery rise up before me without effort, no matter where I was.

Shortly after I returned to Connecticut, the latest Marchetti family member was born!

Little Maria Philippa is a beautiful baby--even the nurses say how perfectly formed she is. Frank and Sharon were smiling when I arrived at the hospital, and haven't stopped yet! Praise God for the happy, healthy baby and mother.

Later on that same day, September 4th, I learned that yet another member of my own family is engaged. Best wishes to cousin Maria and her intended, Rich:

And now, of course, life moves on. Classes started today, without waiting for me to completely "gear up" for the challenge. So it's going to be full-speed ahead here pretty soon.

But my resolution remains to see "Boston in the Fall" this year!