Monday, January 30, 2006

Italian family

While in Connecticut, I've become an adjunct member of Frank's family. The problem with being so busy, though, is that there are spans of time where I am not able to see much of them.
I receive remarks such as, "What you don't like us anymore?" from Frank's brother John Paul, or "Hey, stranger! I'm so glad to see you're still alive," from Angela, his fiancee. Last weekend after Mass, Frank's mother came up to me in the vestibule with her eyebrows raised: "I miss you," she said, very sincerely, almost sternly.

So this past week, I found a half hour to stop by the house and say hello. It continually amazes me how welcoming the family is to me--my entrance was as joyous as a long-lost friend, and as comfortable as a daughter of the house. After greetings and hugs and expressions of gratitude that I came, I was immediately led down into the basement to inspect the rennovations being done on John Paul and Angela's future apartment.

And yesterday, for the first time since before Thanksgiving, I was able to attend Sunday dinner at Sharon's house. It was Tony's first invitation: Sharon said it was his baptism into the Marchetti Sunday dinners. :)
Not everyone was there--only about half of the family could make it--but the Marchetti grandchildren were all present, which makes up a lot of the bustling and noise and laughter that draws everyone together. And of course, the political theory and religious updates and critique of culture were all loudly put forth and thrown around the table.
Sometimes I put my two cents in when I feel the need (usually every possible viewpoint is already represented!) but generally, I like to sit back. Literally. I sit back in my chair, look around, smile, and thank God for these good people who have welcomed me into their hearts.

I am blessed with this special sort of familial support, even living so far from the stronghold of my parents' love and encouragement. They can never give me what I receive from my true family--not even close--but their generous love and concern surround me like armor and prepare me for another week.

And so the week begins...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Angelic Painter

Went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art today to check out the Fra Angelico exhibit. It's only there until tomorrow, so we had to get down there!

It was beautiful. Not as good as seeing the actual cell walls at San Marco in Florence, but it was well worth the time, effort, and admission donation.

We took the train down from Stamford. There was short-lived apprehension while I located my ticket for the conductor in one of my many pockets on the way down. I then handed it over to Tony for safe-keeping. We are alike in many ways. Unfortunately, some of those ways are all too uncomplementary: first of all, both of us are lacking in sense of direction, although I seem to be able to muster it when I'm making an effort. Today, however, it was discovered that we share the inability to keep things from getting lost. Either that or it's contagious. Whichever way it works, he lost my ticket--although he did not lose his own, which was interesting. He ended up paying for my train ride (a second time) when we got back on the train this afternoon to go home ....
Memories of Paris with lovely friend, Alissa: Buying a ten-pack of subway passes ... half an hour later, looking in every pocket I own, frantically searching, but laughing with my friend at the irony of it all ... Alissa being in charge of "all important documents except the passport" from that point onward ...
I used to think it'd get better as I get older. Maybe not.

But as I mentioned, the exhibit was worth the trip. I told the family I babysit for on Saturdays all about it, and I think they're going to try to make it after Mass tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I shall plan another trip to Italy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

How Can I Keep from Singing?

Back on a schedule and into a routine.

I am so excited about this semester. It's going to be so much work, but it's all relevant to the work that I'll be doing when I'm finally out in the field (funny that there's that distinction, even at this level of education!). And much of the difficult stuff is group work; my group consists of my three closest friends at school; so instead of being busy and not being able to see them, I'll be forced to see much of them over the next 5 months!

Two large breaks--spring break and Easter break--plus a few less credits scheduled in order to give us time for our projects ... all this contributes to my relief that this semester may not be dreadful.

Add to that the latest gift from St. Anthony: "...out of the blue clear sky."

I can't stop smiling.

How can I keep from singing?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Please define "weird"

Aaaack! I've been Memed! Which I would have assumed to mean, "attacked by a Portia bean." But it's not that. It means that I've been tagged by Nutmeg to participate in some strange form of self-revelation.

Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits of yourself," and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says "You are tagged" (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

5 weird habits, by Sephora
Disclaimer: I'm not sure what constitutes "weird." I am going to assume that "weird habits" include my habits that I doubt most others have. For example, the fact that I brush my teeth twice a day is not a "weird habit," since I assume that most people do as much. This, however, is not a proper definition, as one should never define something by what it is not. The use of a universal negative leaves us with the idea "weird habits" are merely the original pieces of individual self-expression. But whatever....

1. I tend to clean kitchens wherever I go. Yes, it's polite to help out in the kitchen when you are invited over, but at friends' houses, that's usually my first destination, where I immediately start doing dishes and wiping counters. At home, I cannot get any other work done if the kitchen is dirty.

2. When I really look forward to emailing someone in particular, I don't let myself do it until I've responded to all the emails in my Inbox. In some strange way, I feel bad that I enjoy writing some emails more than others, so I put my
preferences last.

3. I have much more fun cleaning house, cooking, and baking when I'm wearing a skirt or dress. So while some people save old pairs of jeans, I have a dress with bleach stains on it that I wear with an apron for housework.

4. Bedsheets and towels all must be folded with the right side out. If I fold them the other way by mistake, I have to shake them out and re-fold them.

5. When I'm driving, I don't listen to music until I've said my rosary that day. If I'm tired, I must say my rosary out loud to prevent myself from losing focus or getting sleepy. If I pray out loud, I put my headset on so that I don't appear to be talking to myself. (I suppose I care if people think that I'm talking to myself!)

This tagging business is going to turn into who will actually respond, like those silly questionnaires that people send to their friends. So here is my tag-team:

Most likely to respond: Austin, Texas, the most recent addition to my sidebar, from whom I anticipate continual greatness.

Least likely to respond: Erin-Roommate, who is more busy than I (Recipe: wedding planning, graduate school, independent Arabic study; Mix well.)

Most likely to respond with excuses describing why he won't respond to the actual post: Nevermore, who has more serious concerns and more pressing things to get out of his head and into writing.

Crap-shoots, but I'd be sooo interested to hear from them: Donzilla and Jedno

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


My flight was delayed, so instead of arriving in New York at 6:20am, I arrived at 7:45am. Oh, gooh-day.
And there was Tony at JetBlue's baggage claim, looking like 3-in-the-afternoon, as I wearily hugged him and thanked him for saving me from a hideous Metro North train ride. Although I got very little sleep on the plane, I was determined not to nap during the day, so that I could adjust to the 2-hour time loss more quickly.

"So that means you want to do something fun and exciting?" Tony chirped.

"Umm, sure," I replied.

After a lovely breakfast and noon Mass, he suggested ice-skating. I readily agreed.
I didn't realize how prices had risen since I was a child. I remember being able to skate for 4 hours for about $5, maybe an extra $1 or so if you needed rentals (which we never needed, of course!). Tony and I arrived at the rink about 30 minutes before the meager 2-hour public skate slot closed, and the guy charged us $10 each! That didn't even include the rental!
"We're right near Greenwich, remember," Tony reasoned with me. Oh, yes. Where you have to pay rent just to breathe. I forgot.
I was determined to make it worth the money. This was difficult to do when certain aspects of my presentation made me feel like I'd just woken up...all day long:
3 hours of sleep on an airplane
No make-up to hide the dark shadows
Eyeglasses that started making my head ache behind my ears
Same clothes for the last 12+ hours: a wrinkled khaki skirt and a turtleneck too stretched to stay close to my neck anymore

But we had fun. We took the advice of a woman teaching her young daughter how to figure skate, and "pushed through our heels." Still, there were a few close calls in that short half-hour period!

I enjoyed my first day back--no work, no GA work, no school work.

It was a good time spent with a friend who is usually up to ears in work and stress himself. Scraping the ice was a great way to ease into this next semester.