Monday, February 27, 2006


You know the joke... three snotty young women--a brunette, a redhead, and a blonde--walk into a bar and order drinks from a new, inexperienced cocktail waitress.
Brunette: I'll have a G and T.
Waitress: Excuse me? What is that exactly?
Brunette: Duh-huh! It's "gin and tonic."

Redhead: I'll have a Smith and Kearns.
Waitress: I'm sorry, what is that?
Redhead: Duh-huh! It's "kahlua and cream."

Blonde: I'll have a 15.
Waitress: Umm, I'm not sure I--
Blonde: Duh-huh! It's a "seven and seven."

So the connection is, I would not be posting during this (very busy!) last week before spring break if I had not been tagged by Portia Bean.
I have time to read her blog, so I guess I have time to post the tag...!

So here we go: Forty-nine
(otherwise referred to as 7x7)

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Get married and have children.
2. Climb a mountain in South America.
3. Correspond with letters.
4. Visit Poland.
5. Compete in a triathlon.
6. Return to the Philippines.
7. Learn Portuguese.

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Pull-ups (my upper body strength has always been very limited).
2. Allow precision of vocabulary to slide when I'm engaged in an argument.
3. Conquer my pride (it's difficult for me to think of things I cannot do!)
4. Run on a treadmill (I need to be outside when I'm running)
5. Keep track of my belongings (i.e., leave an area with as many items as I came with)
6. Play volleyball (I'm afraid of the ball; it hurts my arms--#1 on this list might be related)
7. Make my brain work past 11pm.

Seven things that attract me to … my Other Half:
I am not yet married (see #1 of "Before I Die")

Seven things I say:
1. Holy cow! / Good heavens!
2. I don't kah-no (phonetic pronunciation of "know").
3. Oh, please...(as in, gimme a break)
4. Out loud, dramatically (specifically, when speaking of reading or reciting something)
5. Are you hungry? / Would you like some tea? (apparently, Chestnut says I always say these things to him...maybe because I always see him around mealtimes?)
6. What are you thinking about? (Chestnut says I always say this, too--but it might have to do with his tendency to become quiet and thoughtful)
7. God bless.

Seven books I love:
1. Late Have I Loved Thee Ethel Mannin
2. A Right to be Merry Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
3. On the Incarnation Saint Athanasius
4. Father Elijah Michael O'Brien
5. James and the Giant Peach Roald Dahl
6. Come Rack! Come Rope! Robert Hugh Benson
7. Kristin Lavransdatter Sigrid Undset

Seven movies that I’ve loved:
1. Return to Me
2. Princess Bride
3. Braveheart
4. Just Like Heaven
5. Pride and Prejudice (the 6-hr A&E version)
6. Life is Beautiful
7. Dave and the Giant Pickle

Seven people to meme:
1. Whiskey
2. Erin-Roommate (what the heck; let's keep trying!)
3. WindMillTilter
4. Anna-Not
...and that's enough for now because 15 minus 7 equals 8, and 4 is half of 8.

And this just in ...
Annoucing the birth of John Charles Remstad! He emerged today, February 27th, weighing in at 8lbs, 14-1/2 oz, after 32 long and hard hours of labor. Both mother and baby (as well as father!) are fine, and all are happy that it's over!
Little John has the distinct privelege of being born on the same day as the widely renowned (in smallish circles)"Big Vic" Vincent.

Welcome to this crazy world, John!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let it Snow

Weekend blizzard

We went for a walk after I felt like I had gotten a sufficient amount of schoolwork done on Sunday.
By that time, the plows had been through a few times; instead of getting our trousers snowy, we concerned ourselves with not slipping on the ice underneath the fine layer of fresh snow.
It was cold, but very still and very white and therefore, very pretty. Everywhere we walked, people were outside of their houses, digging vehicles out from underneath the snow drifts, anticipating Monday morning.
Sacred Heart University was open today--no cancellations, no delays.
Stamford school district, however, had the entire day off! Luckies....
And there's still snow on the ground, and it's still a bit chilly outside.
The storm conflicted with the original weekend plans, but it turned out to be a good time of balancing academic productivity with old-fashioned relaxation.

Prayers requested: first big exam of the semester this Wednesday, followed by a difficult meeting.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Could You Embrace That?

I said to God again,

“Beloved I need to love you – every aspect, every pore.”
And this time God said,
“There is a hideous blemish on my body,
though it is such an infinitesimal part of my Being-
could you kiss that if it were revealed?”

“I will try, Lord, I will try.”

And then God said,
“That blemish is all the hatred and
cruelty in this
~St. Thomas Aquinas
I have come to love the three children in the family whom I help out during the week. They are like younger siblings to me. Different events have inspired this realization.
Once, when Andrew's physical therapist was on his honeymoon, a substitute came in to conduct the weekly aquatic therapy session. I knew that Andrew's regular PT, Scott, had informed this substitute about all of his patients, and that she was an experienced, competent therapist. But I was nervous for the entire hour, knowing that she did not know Andrew like I did, praying that she wouldn't push him too hard or expect too much, hoping that she would praise him sufficiently for how hard he was working under these altered conditions.
I marveled at how Andrew's super-capable and energetic mother, Kris, was able to send me off to the club pool with him a few days after I started working for the family.
When I arrived at their house today, Andrew's older brother Henry greeted me with the news that his mom and Andrew went to New York for a consult with an orthopedist. Henry and I sat side by side in the dining room doing our respective schoolwork, then we played a board game until the rest of the family came home. Henry is the oldest at 11, but is still so young and innocent. A few months ago, he was temporarily home alone. I was with his mother when he called her cell phone in a panic: there was a woman ringing the doorbell and he was afraid to open the door. Apparently, she kept would not go away, but kept ringing the doorbell. My heart ached for him as I listened to Kris' sympathetic but calm instructions to go into the master bedroom, close the door, and put the T.V. on for 10 minutes until she returned home. He'll be a teenager soon, but for now, his parents are his stronghold and he knows where to place his trust.
The youngest, Ellen, 6 years old, trudged in the door first this afternoon, leaving shoes and jacket in her path as she ambled farther into the house. When she heard my voice shouting "hello?" from the living room, she immediately switched gears, scurrying in to pounce on me, hug me, and hang off my elbows, begging that I play with her next. She can be a disciplinary disaster sometimes, but somehow, a bond has been formed. Although she squirmed away in the shower when I tried to scrub shampoo through her hair, five minutes later she was giggling as I wrapped the bath towel around her in a bear hug. I smiled later on this evening as she shouted repeatedly, "Can I have Oreos now? I ate the red part of my pizza. I did. Look. Can I? Can I please have some Oreos?"
And then things happen that makes me wonder why children have to lose their innocence. Henry, Andrew, Ellen, ...eventually they will face extreme ugliness, evil, hatred. Somehow, someday, they will be exposed to the cruelty of the world outside their loving home. Hopefully, they will be shocked and horrified; but also, I pray it will not cause them doubt or anxiety.
Their worries are so pure right now. Andrew became distressed on Sunday when he did not participate in the closing hymn at church. Henry ran across the street to the neighbors' house Saturday to report his parents were lost, because he did not see them resting on the living room couch. Ellen threw a mild tantrum last week when I could not stay to blow-dry her hair before bedtime.
I cannot imagine these beautiful, happy children having to fight on the harsh battlefields of high school pressures and college temptations.
I know I would go after anyone who tried to harm these kids. How difficult to raise children in this world!
But then, kissing the blemish that is "all the hatred and cruelty in the world" ... this is the greater challenge. God loves His creatures even when they pervert His creation. And I am a perverter just as much as the next sinner. I contribute to the world where children lose their innocence and build up barriers to love. Yet God continues to offer His grace and forgiveness "as we forgive those who trespass against us." The challenge is to go and do the same.
Could you embrace that?