Friday, August 30, 2013

7 quick takes, volume 14

1. The semester is off to a good start! I missed my last first class of the school year by being in the emergency room, but other than that I have had a relatively bump-free transition back into the American university system. I have one paper assigned already, but I know what I want to say in it, so it shouldn't be too bad.

2. My little sister loves organizing things, so she organized all my books for me. Now I can find them easily. I also learned I have three copies of Dante's Inferno. Overkill much? Somehow, though, the fact that I have three Bibles (and a Greek NT) doesn't bother me.

3. The fact that school has begun means that summer is officially over. I find this frustrating, because I never got to paint my toenails this summer. One toenail fell off before summer started and it hasn't grown in completely, so I'm hesitant to paint it while it's still recovering. Sigh.

4. I went to a Baysox game with some of my beloved family on Wednesday. It rained for two hours in between the second and third innings, so we had to leave at the bottom of the fifth because it was almost eleven. Too bad! That was the only Baysox game I saw this summer.

5. Oh well. Summer is over, school is starting, and I suspect I will be too busy to worry about such problems.

6. From my facebook page: Yesterday, I found myself sitting in the living room watching football while Kevin cooked dinner. So much for traditional gender roles.

7. Speaking of football, I am going to have to miss the Redskins' season opener because I have class. Argh! If only the professor would cancel class. Or reschedule it. Or live-stream the game in and we can discuss the philosophy of football. Or something. I am going to borrow a jersey from Thomas and wear it to class in protest. (Football, obviously, is one of the things that will make me too busy to mind having unpainted toenails.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Sorry I fell off the face of the earth there. I went on vacation (which I didn't want to announce in advance for privacy/security reasons) and then I got sick again. My bizarre stomach pain from a few months ago came back, so I missed my last first day of classes sitting in the ER. Oh well. (Again, no conclusive diagnosis. I googled, and there are pages and pages of people who have similar symptoms and a huge array of tests turns up nothing. I'm going to an OBGYN to get an ovarian cyst ruled out, and if that's not it I'll probably drop it.)

This semester should be extremely busy. I'm doing individual tutoring, drop-in tutoring, skills tutoring, working in the costume shop, and babysitting. I'm also taking three undergraduate philosophy classes, one honors theology class, and a graduate philosophy class. And I have to write my grad school writing sample.

No senioritis allowed for me!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A bittersweet goodbye

Last Friday, I saw my friend Maggie for the last time in quite some time. This Thursday, meaning tomorrow, on the feast of the Assumption, she will join the Nashville Dominicans as a postulant.

Maggie was my freshman year roommate. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she was very skeptical about us getting along well. She was freaked out by the fact that I was one of seven, sewed my own clothes, and had been homeschooled. On the other hand, I was a little concerned by the fact that she suggested bringing a fridge and a TV, both of which I thought were thoroughly unnecessary.

 Luckily, we soon discovered that we had more in common than we had thought. I realize that becoming really good friends with your freshman year roommate in college is a total cliche, second only to the roommate from hell, but in my case it was actually true.
 I wasn't really sure what to write in this blogpost. There's so much I could say about Maggie, but I'm trying to avoid the overly sentimental.
 Maggie is always there for you, and you can tell her anything. Even if she highly disapproves of it, she will find a way to help you that doesn't just leave you feeling condemned. She can be amazingly tactful given how blunt she naturally is. (Bluntness, let me note, is a wonderful quality in a roommate, because you don't have to play mindgames to figure out if your piles of mess are annoying her--she will just tell you.)
 Maggie's family doesn't go to church as often as mine does, but her faith is stronger than mine is. Without the example of my family, I don't know where I would be today--certainly not where Maggie is. I consider her an inspiration.
 Maggie has an amazing sense of humor, and can also be amazingly naive. She can take anything in stride, and work with whatever life throws at her. She can share your sadness or your joy in equal measure. Anything I try to say about her seems to me to be falling short of who Maggie actually is.
 If the things that we love tell us who we are (footnote: T-Money Aquinas), then Maggie is a part of who I am, and it breaks my heart that she is leaving CUA.
I take some comfort, though, in knowing that she is not abandoning us, because she will be praying for us, and she is not going alone, because we will be praying for her. You can bet that the minute she is allowed to receive visitors who aren't related to her, I will be standing on her doorstep with a bag of M&Ms and the Sixtus CD. Maggie will be greatly missed, but I cannot doubt that she will be happy as she follows the will of God.
 Do not trust the stars that sparkle,
Stars will blink and fade away.
Do not trust the scent of roses,
Roses bloom and then decay.
Put your trust instead in someone
Who will always be sincere.
Sharing in your every smile,
Sharing, too, in every tear.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making jam

We are watching my little cousins for a few days, so I am taking the opportunity to pass of the joy of jam making to the younger generation, or rather, the younger half of my generation. We are currently suffering the "problem" of too many tomatoes at my house, so we are making lots of relish and tomato jam. With the little girls, though, I made jalapeno jam. The recipe calls it jelly, but it isn't jelly, it's jam.

They were such a joy to work with. They chopped everything themselves, without any complaining about how long it took. The only negative part was when J squirted herself in the eye with jalapeno juice, but I would cry too, and I'm not nine years old. I rinsed her out with the sprayer in the kitchen sink and she kept on going.

Here are a few pictures. Since neither girl is mine, I won't post pictures where you can really see their faces. If you know me in person, you can see the rest on my facebook page.
 They wanted to see the sugar soak up the vinegar, so they waited to stir until it was all absorbed.

 I had the idea that soaking a paper towel in milk would help J's eye. I don't think it did, but it did bring some amusement to an otherwise bad scenario.

This is our yield, minus the half-pint jar that C took home. We didn't sterilize enough jars, so we had to use a pint jar that didn't get used for relish.

Friday, August 2, 2013

7 quick takes, volume 13

This week, if you forgot, will be 7 things I like better about the US or Bowie than about Freiburg.

1. The personality of Americans. If I have to wait in a long boring line, I would rather complain with the stranger next to me about how long the line is than stare at the ground. And although we already discussed how Freiburg public transportation works better, it is certainly more charming to hear the train driver announce "This is the last station-stop in the District Washington of Columbia, our nation's capital!"

2. Courses at CUA. I am open to the possibility that I just picked all my courses wrong, but not a single course I took last semester was challenging. At CUA, even if every course isn't a winner, I generally know how to pick courses that will be challenging but manageable. At the Uni Freiburg, I apparently don't.

3. My neighbors. They wear shoes. And shower. And they would never consider a parade at 1am to be appropriate behavior for suburbia.

4. The library. Ok, I know this isn't fair, because the Freiburg library was getting renovated. But it's so nice to be able to walk into the stacks and find the book you are looking for.

5. Having to buy textbooks. I would much rather pay $15 for a book and have it in bound format than have to print out several hundred pages and keep them all together and not lose them.

6. Not living with strangers. Need I say more?

7. And, of course, last but not least, my family!

For other people's takes, head over to Conversion Diary.