Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joyeux Noel! :)

"In our world, too, a stable once held something that was bigger than our whole world."



-from The Last Battle by C.S Lewis




MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALL MY DEAR FRIENDS! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making Christmas, Part Two

Now for the Nativity scene! We made the figurines and stable about 10 or 11 years ago, and I love setting it all up every year.


And can you find Ratty?

There he is!

My mom had the awesome idea of putting this big mirror (which we found on the curb) on top of a dresser (which we found in the basement) in the corner of the living room. I think it looks quite nice!

Making Christmas...

...making Christmas, making Christmas!


That, in case you don't know, is a line from one of the most insanely hilarious songs from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that is what we have been up to lately! Behold some photographic evidence of our work!







Ratty trying to be helper kitty (and epicly failing, poor thing)









My beautiful green bird!






Some ornaments my mom made...I like to call them the Five Freaky Friends




One of my very favorite ornaments!





Another favorite...I've had it since I was 5 years old. We used to have a nightlight with that picture, too, but sadly it broke a few years ago. :(





My very first ornament, made by my dad 17 Christmases ago.





The mice looking at Cinderella's coach



And there's the entire tree!






You know, Blogger seriously needs to re-do their photo uploading tool, because all of the pictures end up at the top of the page and it's extremely time-consuming to move them where I want them. Not to mention that now I can't cut and paste in my blogger posts...anyone know how to fix that?


So stay tuned for Part Two!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snow

We finally have some snow! It snowed a lot just before Thanksgiving weekend, and Thanksgiving day and the friday after were both bright, beautiful, blue and white days. Being able to look out the window at work and see sunlight and snow and rolling hills and black branches etched against the blue, blue sky made working for 9 hours on Thanksgiving much more bearable! That, and the fact that I earned twice as much in tips as usual, not to mention I worked about 2 hours longer than I normally do - the specter of Christendom College always dances before my eyes, encouraging me!

For the first time ever, my mom, sister, and I went shopping on Black Friday. I actually had a lot of fun! Just two words of advice: 1. Don't go in a big city, if you can help it (in our town of 30,000, pretty much everyone we saw just looked like they were having fun...none of the crazed shoppers one always hears about...but I hear that in large cities in can be a bit different), and 2. 6: 30 am is just about the perfect time to go! It's early enough that you can have all the fun of getting up while it's still dark out (well, I find that fun, at least! ;)), it's well after the first mad rush, but it's not so late that people have started getting cranky. It was so weird to arrive at the mall at 6:30 am and find it as full as a busy Saturday afternoon! And everyone looked wide awake...that was the funny part! We didn't get anything terribly exciting, but the sales were excellent. When you're a poor student trying to save money for college, saving a few extra dollars is always a priority!

POTO (Phantom of the Opera) rehearsals started this week...my sister and I have been at one of the local high schools every evening from 4:00 to 5:00. It's not been terribly interesting so far, as we've only worked on blocking (which for me means lots of standing around!), but I can already tell it's going to be amazing. I'm really looking forward to starting to work on choreography next week! Oooh, and we also got scripts which we'll get to keep! I just highlighted and sticky-noted mine last night, and it already has copious notes...fun fun...official official! The scenes I'll be in in Act 1 are:
Scene 1: Rehearsal of Hannibal;
Scenes 2 and 3: After the Gala, Angel of Music, Through the Mirror (the ballet girls are in the background stretching, practicing, etc. the entire time);
Scene 5a: The Magic Lasso; and
Scene 7: Il Muto (one of the operas).
In Act 2, I'll be in Scene 1: Masquerade;
possibly Scenes 6 and 7: Don Juan (another of the operas);
and Scene 8: Track Down This Murderer (although I'll just be singing off-stage in that one).
I'm very happy with my part! It's fun because I'm actually a member of the opera company, and there will be tons of stage time!

Well, I really need to go study, write, and stop procrastinating! But before I go, I'll leave you with this beautiful song: Snow, by Loreena McKennitt. Nothing says "winter" to me more than this song.

The words are equally lovely and come from this poem, which is definitely one of my favorite pieces of poetry:


Snow

by Archibald Lampman




White are the far-off plains, and white

The fading forests grow;

The wind dies out along the height,

And denser still the snow,

A gathering weight on roof and tree

Falls down scarce audibly.





The road before me smooths and fills

Apace, and all about

The fences dwindle, and all the hills

Are blotted slowly out;

The naked trees loom spectrally

Into the dim white sky.





The meadows and far-sheeted streams

Lie still without a sound;

Like some soft minister of dreams

The snow fall hoods me round;

In wood and water, earth and air,

A silence everywhere.




Save when at lonely intervals


A farmer's sleigh, urged on,

With rustling runners and sharp bells

Swings by me and is gone;

Or from the empty waste I hear

A sound remote and clear;





The barking of a dog, or call

To cattle, sharply pealed,

Borne echoing from some wayside stall

Or barnyard far afield;

Then all is silent, and the snow

Falls, settling soft and slow.





The evening deepens, and the gray

Folds closer earth and sky;

The world seems shrouded far away,

Its noises sleep, and I,

As secret as yon buried stream

Plod dumbly on, and dream.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

...til you drown in the light, in the sound.

I can't believe I haven't shared my exciting news yet! I got into Phantom of the Opera!!! I'm in the ballet corps and the ensemble, which means a lot of stage time. :) I'm extremely excited! The performance is going to be absolutely incredible...it always is with this group!

We've had two rehearsals so far - the first a general read-through and the second a vocal rehearsal of "Masquerade". I'm soooo excited about being in "Masquerade"! In case you've never seen or heard it, here is the movie version! That way you can see the amazing, incredible dancing, but I actually like the way the stage version sounds better. This is a dream come true...I've seen the movie so many times, and every time I would see "Masquerade" and think, "I would LOVE to be in that!" And here I am!

Our performances are the second week of February - we have 9 altogether! I've never been in a show that ran that long. Eeeep, I am sooo excited. :)

The ACT test date is fast approaching. I'd really appreciate prayers that I can stay on track with studying for it...I'm having difficulties with that. Thanks SO much! I've also been wading through website after website of scholarships... *starts to go crazy*

And Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Unfortunately I have to work, but hey, I need the money, and that way I'll have some extra money I can buy a few Christmas gifts without feeling guilty that I'm taking from my college fund. ;)

Oooh, one more thing...anyone else getting excited about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? I know I am! The plan is to get a group of friends together and go see it the afternoon of the 11th (after my ACT!), and then go tubing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A painful post.

Perhaps some of you know this already, but I am incredibly klutzy. This comes as a surprise to some people who assume that since I dance I am naturally graceful at all times, but that, I am afraid, is not always the case! And it seems to be getting worse and worse as time goes on...

Case in point:

At swim class on Tuesday, I backstroked right into the wall and bashed my head against it, almost knocking myself out. At work on Friday, I ran into no less than three people while walking from one end of the resturant to the kitchen. And...drum roll please!...at dance on Saturday I was trying to do a jump I'd never attempted before. The first time I fell and caught myself painfully on my hand. I tried again and this time literally landed flat on my face, hitting my chin extremely hard.

"Yeah, I don't think I'm going to try that again!" I exclaimed, staggering to my feet a bit unsteadily.

"You're bleeding!" said my teacher.

"Really?" Sure enough, blood was dripping from my chin. "Wow...that's weird." She gave me an ice pack wrapped in a napkin and had me sit out for the rest of class. After class the other teacher looked at my chin and said that I should call my parents because it looked like it needed stitches.

Stitches? But all I'd done was fall on my face! Trust me to find a way to end up with stitches after that...

So my dad came and took me to the walk-in. The doctor told me I was going to need stitches or else end up with a possibility of infection and a gouged scar on my chin...that made me feel like a deflated balloon. Needles are my number one fear and stitches require a lot of them in all varieties! But I decided that it would be worth it to avoid the risk of infection, a bigger scar, and feeling like a wimp, and I went under the needle.

It wasn't sooo bad...I just concentrated on breathing very slowly and deeply (which also meant rather loudly, and I think was freaking out the doctor because he kept asking me if I was all right), and I only felt the first two shots. Dad said they gave me 5 or 6 - I'm so glad I didn't know that was how many I was getting beforehand! When I had lost all feeling in my chin he started sewing me up. It felt SO weird! I could feel the edges of my skin being pulled together...sorry, that's rather disgusting. He put in two little stitches and it seemed to take far too long, but at long last he was finished, and I sat up with many admonishments from the nurse to be careful because I'd be dizzy.

So yes, now I have a pretty wicked looking gash about an inch long with two black stitches on the underside of my chin. :P The stitches come out on Friday (yay! They itch terribly!), and I will have a scar - woohoo! I'm actually happy about that...I like scars. I had no idea you could actually get a gash from falling on a flat surface...ohhh, that's nasty when you think about it! Time to change the subject!

Let's see...I know! I'm getting all my oral surgery done in January - yay! Well, I'm actually totally dreading it, but it will be nice to get it over with, and it also means only a few months of braces after that! I'll be so very happy to have them gone. :D But before that happens I have to all four of my wisdom surgically removed, my one remaining baby tooth pulled, and the tooth that is coming in in the completely wrong place (namely, the roof of my mouth) dug out and have a bracket attached to it. *cringes* Not fun!!!

Wow, that wasn't much of a subject change, now was it? And I'm afraid the next thing I have to say is rather painful as well...

I'm taking the ACT on December 11! *tries not to nervously hyperventilate* I'm completely confident about the English and Reading sections (they actually look really easy), but the Science and Math sections...ohhhh dear. I haven't even learned a lot of it, so I'm planning to do a TON of studying between now and December! Tomorrow I will commence my intensive study schedule (which reminds me - I'd better write up my schedule tonight instead of tomorrow so I don't have it there undone in the morning, tempting me to procrastinate!). Please pray for me that I can stay on track and retain all this knowledge! Thanks SO much! :)

*re-reads post* Wow, this is rather dismal sounding! I hope I don't sound like I'm begging for sympathy...I'm not...these are just the most exciting things that have happened to me lately. lol

One last thing...could I please ask for your prayers for a very special intention? Thank you so much! You're all in my prayers!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Music

Music is a wonderful thing. You know how some songs just make you happy? Even if you've been having a terrible day, hearing a certain song can just make everything feel right (or at least like there's a chance it will again). It almost feels like your heart is breaking, but in a very, very good way.

So I'm going to share with you my current "happy songs"!

Love Story meets Viva la Vida by Jon Schmidt - Oh, this song! I love it! I'm so happy that guy wrote it...it's just brilliantly beautiful.

Don't Stop Believin' by Journey - This is one of my favorite songs ever! I'm really not sure exactly why...there's just something about it that I love. I'm even more attached to it now since we danced to it at the Halloween dance, and it will forevermore remind me of my visit to Christendom!

And I also love this version of it...

Don't Stop Believin' by Glee

So, there is the music that has been making me happy lately. I hope it does the same for you! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Trip to Christendom College, Part 2

And without further ado, here is Part 2!

(That rhymed! Oooh, I'm good.)

Oh, and you're in luck this time - you get some pictures! Hopefully I'll have pictures of my costume soon too. EDIT: Well, Blogger is being lame is being lame and refusing to upload my lovely photos, so hopefully I can get them up tomorrow!


November 1, 2010 -

(7:30 AM) So here I sit at Harry's Tap Room at Dulles, eating a bagel and drinking coffee which are thankfully delicious since they were rather expensive (the coffee actually cost more than the bagel!). I feel so "official-official", sitting alone, wearing a legit college sweatshirt, and content in the knowledge my baggage is safely checked in.

Since I don't have to board until 10 to 8 and I have a (much-needed) cup of coffee to drink, I thought I'd write a little more. I'm sooo tired! The dance last night ended at 1 am, I didn't get to bed until close to 3 AM, and the van picked me up to go to the airport at 5:30 AM! But it's all totally worth it, of course!

I have a feeling that this return trip is going to feel incredibly short, so it's probably going to feel like no time at all since getting here was so quick. The sky is totally light now (7:45 AM) - it looks so pretty and sunny and pastel-y. No clouds to rise above today!

I suppose I should write a little about my actual stay now. It probably won't be that detailed simply because way too much happened for me to record it all, but I'll recount the highlights.

Friday - I sat in on classes. They were absolutely amazing! I attended a theology class, a history class, a philosophy class, and a literature class, and I seriously did not have a favorite - they were all incredible! I'm sure that actually taking them and needing to study and do homework and all is a little different, but they're so interesting I'd be completely willing to work really hard.

That evening I went into Front Royal with my ambassador and some of her friends to Tropical Smoothie and Wal-Mart. Fun, crazy times ensued! When we got back I walked over to the student center to access the internet on my laptop, and also to take advantage of the 1 AM curfew and the chance to walk around in the dark! I went back to the dorm at about midnight, read for an hour, and got to bed at 2 AM.

(9:40 AM) I'm interrupting this a little...my flight got slightly delayed (thank goodness only slightly! I'd rather not learn the great art of booking it though an airport just yet!), so I talked to my sister on the phone for about an hour while I waited - I was there super early anyways, of course.

Gah! I was in the wrong seat again! This is getting very embarrassing... I also turned the wrong way while boarding the plane and walked right into the security people.

"Do you want to get patted down?" demanded one of the guys, smirking.

"Um, no! Agh! There's the door!" I quickly rushed down the hall, reflecting with gratitude that I'd never see them again! Ah well...it's good for humility, and things like that are really quite hilarious in retrospect.

Yay! We're moving! I'm not at a window seat this time, but I can still see out just fine. I'm planning to try and catch up on some sleep, anyways.

(Not sure of the time - I'm not positive where I put my watch...it's either in my baggage or I forgot it...and I had to turn off my cell phone) Well, so much for sleeping. I guess I'm still too hyped up (and probably slightly buzzed on caffeine) to sleep sitting up, so I'll just keep writing.

There's only a few clouds today...they look really funny/cool! It looks sort of like they're under a glass table top.

Wow, there are so many sleeping people. They're lucky - I just can't sleep in public places. I'm trying to decide...should I get something thirst-quenching or something caffeinated? I'm really thirsty so I think I'll just get the caffeine on the next flight.

So let's see, where was I in my account? Saturday morning, I think...

Saturday - There was a special contenential breakfast and a presentation from the Admissions Director in the cafe for all the visiting students at 9:30 AM. I'd already heard most of the presentation from various other sources, but it was definitely worth hearing again! It made me get even more excited...Christendom is seriously an awesome, one-of-a-kind place.

After the talk we went to Mass. It was a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, which I'd never attended before, but it was really nice. I was extremely impressed by Christendom's liturgy! I've gone to the Tridentine Mass since I was 10, so the thought of Novus Ordo made me just a little apprehensive, but it was wonderful. I love they offer everything from the Novus Ordo in English to the Tridentine Rite, but it's all so reverent and absolutely beautiful.

Lunch followed Mass and after that the swing and contra clubs held teaching sessions for the visitors in the gym. That was SO much fun! As I'm sure you all know, I love dancing, and I almost never get to do scoial dancing. I've only done swing a little bit at weddings and the only contra dance I knew was the Virginia Reel, so it was awesome to learn so much more! We danced for about two hours, and after that I met my one true love - the library! As I walked through the many aisles absolutely of wonderful books (and it's two stories!) I thought, wow! it's worth coming here just for this!

By that time it was dinner time and we adjourned to the commons for the Oktoberfest meal, which was followed by various competitions such as barrel rolling, stein racing (which I failed epically at...serves me right for feeling right for feeling so cocky about it!), bean bag tossing, and doughnut-on-a-string-eating. After all those events we went back inside and there was a contra dance! That was the very first I had ever been to and it was wonderfully fun! I had another of my usual epcially klutzy moments during the broom dance - I was sashaying down the aisle with a guy and when he tried to twirl me, we lost our balance and went literally flying into the row of girls! It was so hilarious!

I spent another late night on my laptop at the student center typing up the blog post from the 30th, and once again got to bed around 2 AM. College life. *shakes head*

Sunday - This was definitely the best day! It began with the beautiful Mass - a Novus Ordo all in Latin with incense and the amazing choir. It was one of the most beautiful Masses I've ever attneded...I really loved the marriage between the old and the new. After Mass we ate brunch, and then I became acquainted with a Christendom tradition that I absolutely LOVE - the sing-alongs around the piano in the commons that I mentioned in my last post! Like I also mentioned there, I am totally in awe of how talented some of these people are.

After spending about an hour singing and listening, one of my friends and I walked down every single aisle of the library, which we both agreed we want to marry. Or at least have a job reading very single book so they don't get dusty! We had to perform the sad task of printing out our boarding passes, and then we and another friend were privileged to be let in on the knowledge of an awesome secret place in the library!

Next, the three of us had hot chocolate and cookies in the cafe and talked to the Admissions Counselor for a while, and then we went to Vespers. Oh, that was wonderful!!! We sang a lot and it was so nice to be able to spend some very peaceful time in the presensce of Our Lord.

We had another adventure after Vespers! We decided to go up and see the choir loft and on our way up, one of the students offered to show us the bell tower! We stayed up there talking for about half an hour - it was so much fun! After dinner, the same student took us on a walk down to the dock on the Shenandoah River. It was so peaceful and quiet and beautiful down there.

The evening was spent dressing for the Halloween Dance, trick-or-treating in one of the guys' dorms and going to the haunted house (which was in a guys' dorm room and really quite impressive, and - in my opinion - hysterically funny, with loud creepy music, strobe lights, and people with creepy costumes and voices popping up all over the place). And then around 8:30 PM, we headed to the dance! Oh my goodness, the dance was SOOO much fun! I had such a wonderful time! I danced a lot, and usually when I wasn't dancing with someone I was freestyling in an awesome little circle with some of my fellow visitors. It was FUN!!!

I stayed until it ended at 1 AM, and then had to say goodbye to all my friends because I had to leave at the insane hour of 5:30 AM! What with showering and packing and talking I didn't make it to bed until 3 AM, which brings me to the exhausted and brain-dead state I am in at this moment. I've done so many stupid things it's absolutely insane! You should see all the bizarre spelling mistakes I'm making (example: I spelled "insane" "insain"), and I even asked the stewardess if I was in the right plane because it was a different color from the others. My goodness...

But thankfully I am on the last flight I'll be taking today, and we're almost ready to take off! So I think I will leave you here and succumb to exhaustion for one last hour. Fare thee well!


So ends my chronicles. I had an absolutely marvelous weekend, and, as you've probably figured out by now, I definitely want to attend Christendom next year! I'm working on applying...it's so very exciting. Please pray for me, and thank you SO much to everyone who was praying for me over the weekend! It's very much appreciated, helped a great deal, and know that I am praying for you as well!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Things I Love About C-dom

Here are some things I'm loving about Christendom!

* The chapel. It's beautiful, and it's right in the heart of the campus - exactly where it should be! I love being able to stop in to say a prayer whenever I pass by, and every time I've gone in there have been at least three people praying.

* The amazing library. Seriously, it is soooooo cooooool! It's huge and jam-packed full of all sorts of incredible books. There's also an amazing view of the Shenandoah River out the enormous windows in the back. I could live in this place!

*The classes. The classes and professors are so amazing! I sat in on Theology, History, Philosophy, and Literature on Friday and they were all wonderful. I love learning about that sort of thing.

* The rickety piano laden with music books in the commons. That was the best idea ever! It's right outside the cafeteria and there is pretty much always someone playing it and/or singing...and they're all super super talented! I was seriously in awe! After brunch this morning I joined the group of people standing around it singing...we sang songs from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, and a bunch of other shows. It was awesome.

* The people. These are seriously some of the friendliest, nicest, most welcoming people I've ever met. Everyone always smiles and says hi to me, most of them are hysterically funny, all the stories I've heard about how polite and chivalrous C-dom guys are are completely true, the students in general aren't in the least bit stuck-up or nerdy or religious freaks, and they're all so very Catholic. It's awesome to see how many people attend Mass and drop in to pray at the chapel, and they just live with such joy. I was also extremely impressed that the entire time I've been here, I've not heard one person take God's Name in vain. Pretty cool!

* The dancing. Oh my goodness, it is SOOO much fun! I fianlly learned how to swing dance yesterday and I'm now really looking forward to the dance tonight, and last night I attended my first dance! It was a contra dance after the Oktoberfest, and I had a wonderful time. I love how they do so much real dancing, and so many people are really good at it, too!

Well, those are a few of the things I really love here. After I get home I'll do a post telling more about what exactly we did.

Happy Feast of Christ the King! And Happy Halloween! And Happy All Saint's Day a day early! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Trip to Christendom College, Part 1

So, this weekend is my trip to Christendom College! I wrote in my notebook the entire way there, and here I sit in the student center (at 11:11 PM - make a wish!) typing it alllll out for your reading pleasure! Hopefully you'll not find a basically minute-by-minute account of my travels by air to be too mind-numbingly dull. ;)


(A little after 2 PM) It took a tortourously long time for the plane to finish getting to the runway and actually take off. But when it did, it was so thrilling! The plane paused and then suddenly the engines grew louder and the plane began taxiing rapidly. Being the speed junky that I am, that was amazingly fun, and with a little ratcheting clunk we became airborne. It was incredible to see the earth quickly fade away, roads becoming neat little grids and rivers shining silver snakes. I must admit that the way the plane was tilting (towards my side of the plane and I'm right beside a security door...things like that always make me nervous) made me a little uneasy, but it soon righted itself. And it was completely worth it for the huge burst of adrenaline as we barrelled straight into the sky and broke in amongst the clouds.

People have always told me that the sight and experience of flying above the clouds is absolutely incredible, but it didn't prepare me for the grandeur of actually experiencing it myself. The plane was wrapped in white, gauzy clouds for about two minutes and then we broke through. Oh, it was beautiful! A vista of whiteness spread around us as far as the eye could see, and the beautiful blue sky shone out through the clouds in varying stripes of pale blue and azul and the softest gray-white. It looked like a whole new world...it looked like heaven.

"Have you flown much?" asked the man seated beside me, observing my transfixed gaze and exclamations of delight.

"No, this is actually my first time."

"Ah! Yes, seeing the clouds is pretty incredible."

"It is! I was really looking forward to seeing it."

"It's like flying above a big white blanket."

So now we're far, far above the clouds that are blanketing the Midwest with cold and gray. The 1st officer just said we're at 29,000 feet (it's 2:35 PM and we're about half an hour from landing in Detroit). When I look out the window I see white clouds all around us, blue skies above, and the sun shining incredibly brightly.

I've decided that flying is very, very fun. The whole nervous getting everywhere I need to be at the airport is stressful, actually boarding the plane is very nerve-wracking, but the actual flying and soaring through the clouds is absolutely blissful and thrilling. It's like riding on an enormous, very tame dragon.

We're losing altitude now (2:49 PM) and it looks like we're flying over Antarctica. The clouds, which really look like a mountainous landscape, are interrupted by patches of blue which looks exactly like water. It's so beautiful...I wasn't expecting it to look so much like a landscape. It's a whole different world in the sky.

(Almost 3 PM) We're sinking and I can once again see the ground! I've never been in MI. I wonder what the plane looks like coming out of the clouds?

You'll appreciate this, Bailey...the man next to me was playing Spider Solitaire.

And now we've left the blue skies and are amongst the turbulent clouds once more.

(A little after 5 PM, sitting on the plane and waiting for take-off...the worst part!) And Mum, you'll appreciate this (or not...) - when viewed from above, subdivision streets look remarkably like centipedes.

So this is what landing was like. After being wrapped in clouds for about 5 minutes, they blew away - puff! We started sinking towards the ground again and Detroit was visible as far as the eye could see. So very odd to think I've been there now (well, I'm still here as I write). The car looked like shiny little bugs gliding along the streets.

We sank lower and lower, getting almost disturbingly close to the fields as we approached the airport. It must take so much practice to know exactly how fast to start decreasing altitude. After about 20 very long minutes of going down all the roads on the runway (another super aggravating/tedious part of air travel), we pulled up to one of the gates and had to wait about 20 more minutes before we could disembark.

The Detroit airport is huge. Thankfully the man who was sitting next to me was very kind (and also, ironically, going to Front Royal!), and he directed me towards the monitor and the correct gate before I, in my slightly discombobulated state, even had time to get my bearings. I started toward Gate B11, taking one of the moving sidewalks, which was very fun and felt a little like flying. Checking in was completely uneventful, and so here I am on the plane.

The planes are much smaller than I'd expected - I felt rather claustrophobic when I got in it the first time. There's only two seats on either side of the very narrow aisle - a bit of a tight squeeze. It's not so bad if you're by a window, however, which both of my seats have been! I actually didn't get the right seat either time, but it doesn't really matter.

And now (5:25 PM) we're moving! I'm such a seasoned traveller now that I barely even looked out the window...I'm sure that blase air will only last on the ground, however!

As usual, I only used one of the things I brought and could easily have gotten by with nothing but my purse and a notebook, since I've spent the entire time writing. This second half of the trip (it's only a little over an hour) will probably be pretty much the same.

(5:33 PM) And we're off! Eeep, I absolutely LOVE that moment of takeoff! As I've mentioned, I do believe I've become a confirmed speed/adrenaline junky. So back I go to my beautiful land above the clouds... The horizon is an absolutely gorgeous shade of plae, pale turquoise.

(6 PM) It's extremely sunny and extremely bumpy! Okay, now it's settled down (the bumpiness...not the sun). Very, very odd to think I'm above Ohio or something right now.

(6:15 PM) The sun is definitely setting and we're once again preparing for landing. This whole trip went so fast! The clouds have cleared and I can see land and MOUNTAINS! I wonder what state we're in. The trees look pretty brightly colored and the grass is green. And the mountains...ahh! They're so beautiful!

(6:30 PM) We're sinking over D.C. and are ahead of schedule - shocking! The wheels came out with a clunk and we're going downnnnn...this is so cool! And taxiing is so fun!

(7:15 PM) So here I am sitting next to Baggage Claim 6 at Dulles! It's still hard to believe that I'm actually in a big city - the United State's capitol, in fact. One of the interesting things is all the different accents and languages I'm hearing - even over the intercom.

Finding my baggage was quite an adventure! I followed the signs saying "Baggage Claim" down two flights of escalators and onto an underground transportation thing that was basically a subway within the airport. That was fun because it went really fast and right through all the pipes and things under the building. I'd been told to meet a Christendom representative at Baggage Claim 6, and therefore I thought that was where my luggage would be too. After waiting for about 5 minutes past the time my flight had been scheduled to arrive (it had arrived about 20 minutes early), I finally had the bright idea of actually looking at the monitor. Oh! The Detroit flight's baggage had to be picked up at Baggage Claim 14 - all the way on the other end of the building! Whoops...

So I walked there and was able to claim my baggage after a few minutes' tense waiting for it to appear. I'm dreadfully paranoid about losing my baggage.

Airplanes, I have decided, are absolutely beautiful. They're so bird-like. Watching them take off is like watching swans in flight. They're also beautiful for the fact that they're such incredible pieces of machinery. When I flew today it made me wish that all the people who had longed for flight over the years could experience it.

Well, I'm toying with the idea of finding something to eat. I won't be picked up for at least 20 more minutes and I don't want to be famished.

(8 PM) There, I walked all the way back to the deli across from Baggage Claim 14 and bought a container of hummus and pita chips for $2.99 - not bad, since I didn't even eat half! It was sooo good...I love hummus.

I'm really enjoying travelling. It's not quite as hard or nerve-wracking as I expected, I haven't had to ask anyone for help yet, and it's rather fun to be doing it all alone and having people call you "ma'am" because you're obviously grown up enough to be travelling alone. The main reason I'd be glad to have a companion would be to have someone to talk to, but that is why I've been writing obssesively the entire trip. I guess I have this strong ingrown need to communicate.

It still feels a bit unreal that I'm sitting here at an international airport outside our nation's capitol...I can't quite grasp it. It still feels like I'm at home in the Midwest and Washington D.C. is far far away on the other side of the country. The idea that I'll actually be sleeping in a dorm at Christendom College tonight also seems a bit preposterous, not to mention the fact that I'll be spending the entire weekend here. Freakyyy...like Twilight Zone-freaky, man.

It'll be about 15 minutes before someone gets here to pick me up. Now I'm getting nervous again! Oh well...I'll live, and it will be fun.


So, that's how it went - my first airplane trip that I can remember, and my first time travelling alone! I'll write more about my actual visit after I get home, but suffice it to say for now that I am having a wonderful time! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

*revives dead blog*

My blog has been rather dead-ish lately. I've actually been too busy to post on it, which is kinda nice for a change!

So, I have a few pieces of exciting news! One is that I'm auditioning for Phantom of the Opera next month!!!!!!!!!!!! :D There's a theater group in my town that does a really big musical every two years with students from all the area highschools. Their productions are always spectacular...it was their Les Miserables that was the first musical I ever saw (I was 11). I was literally struck speechless for about 10 minutes after it ended (I really couldn't talk, it was the oddest thing!), and ever since that night I've wanted to be on stage!

So I was eagerly watching for news of what this year's production would be (the other two were Cats and Peter Pan), and I was absolutely freaking estatic when I found out they're doing Phantom, one of my favorite musicals!!! They held three workshops a couple of weeks ago, two of which I attended, and after them I was even more excited than I had been before! The director told us a bit about what the production would be like, and it's going to be INCREDIBLE. This group always does a mind-blowingly professional job, and they have a $70,000 budget for it! She showed us the set designs, which look amazing (they're actually covering the entire archway over the stage to make it look like the Paris Opera House, and the niches for the statues will be the box seats!), and then we learned the music and choreography for "Masquerade". It was SO much fun! It was amazing to hear the melody come together, and the choreography is simply awesome.

So I'm suuuuppppeeeer excited for the auditions! I'm singing "Stranger in Paradise" from the musical Kismet for my song, and reading Galadriel's speech from the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring for my monologue. I'm also doing some pointework, since I'll be auditioning for the ballet corps, the ensemble, and Meg! I would love to be Meg, and several people have told me they think I'd play her really well, so perhaps the directors will agree! :)

Some more exciting news is that I'm visiting Christendom College in the near future! :D I'll have to be sure and post about it!

And...I'm doing National Novel Writing Month (commonly known as NaNoWriMo) this year! It's a challenge to write a 50,000 word (about 175 pages) novel in one month. It's other name is insanity, of course. ;) But I thought I'd give it a try, even though I doubt I'll make it to 50,000 words! Stranger things have happened, though. If you're doing it, feel free to add me as a buddy on the website! My user name is _Tinuviel_ (and by clicking on that link you can read the synopsis of my story...for some reason Blogger isn't letting me paste. :P).

I feel like totally re-vamping my blog. Well, maybe not totally, but somewhat. I've changed a lot lately (I'm not nearly as shy and fearful anymore!), and I just feel like this blog needs an overhaul. I'll see what I can do... Oh, and another weird thing that has been changing is how light my hair is getting! When I was born it was black, by the time I was about 6 it had faded to really dark brown, and then it's just been progressively getting lighter and lighter, especially in the last few months. It's definitely light brown now! Strange.

One last thing. I've discovered two new favorite authors - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie! Now that I'm finally no longer a constant nervous wreck I'm really enjoying mysteries. I think it's hereditary...my mom and sister both devour them too! I'm also reading more of Sir ACD's Professor Challenger books...I love them! They're science-fiction and sometimes hilarious and fascinating and really good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Of movies and fearlessness.

We have been watching SO many good movies lately! They are...

Bright Star - This was one of the most beautiful, romantic, and sad movies I've ever seen. It tells the story of the short-lived but amazingly intense relationship between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Bright Star was wonderfully acted, the music was unique and beautiful (I especially loved the wordless choral singing), and the cinematography was jaw-droppingly, breathtakingly gorgeous. It also made me want to read more of Keat's poetry! Some of my favorite lines were:

"Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music: do I wake or sleep?"

"There is a holiness to the heart's affections."

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Its loveliness increases. It will never pass into nothingness."

"Bright star, would that I were as steadfast as thou art."

Another aspect I really loved was how Fanny's family was so present, and they were all obviously so happy and loved each other very much. It seems like you just don't see that in very many movies, even period dramas. It also added a really nice note of groundedness to what could have been a very sentimental movie (but wasn't at all, for reasons in addition to that!).

I had a lot of fun making graphics from this movie, too. With such beautiful imagery and quotes, how could it be anything but a joy? If you like to see a slideshow from them, click here!


Alice in Wonderland - Finally, finally, finally, we saw it, and just as we expected, we (we meaning my mom, sister, and I...not the royal we...or "We are Bates, sir," (if you've watched Top Hat - and if you haven't, you should! - you'll get it) ) loved it! It was so wonderfully Tim Burton-y (in other words, weird and hilarious and creepy and interesting and awesome), I absolutely loved the music (I'm adding the theme song to my playlist on here as soon as I get a chance), and I loved Alice's clothes! Steampunk, I've decided, is my new favorite style. *swoons* I especially loved the dress she wore at the beginning, the dress the Hatter made (which I can't find a picture of...), the dress the Red Queen had made, and the coat she wore at the end.

Some people have taken issue with supposed "feminist undertones" in Alice - I myself didn't see them at all. There was the incident of Alice refusing to wear a corset. Smart girl! Corsets were absolutely horrible for your health, and just because everyone is wearing something doesn't mean you have to also. It really can be taken as a good message. Then there was the fact that Alice slayed the Jabberwocky. So what? Eowyn slew the Witch King. Girls don't always have to always conform to someone's ideal of what they should act like. Look at St. Joan of Arc - she certainly was no damsel in distress. Everyone is different...everyone's calling is different. And besides, in this case it is a story about a fantasical land where anything can happen and usually does. ;) And finally, people have taken issue with the way the movie ends - Alice becomes an apprentice with a trading company. Oh well...that's what she wants to do, and she's motivated in a large part by love and admiration for her deceased father - it seems to me that she wants to carry on his legacy. Also, if you've read the book, you'll remember that Alice is a very curious, contrary, strong-minded sort of girl. I thought the movie captured her personality very well.

But, anyways, back to the movie!

The Cheshire Cat was so awesome and cat-like! Definitely my favorite character after... [fan girl warning] THE HATTER!!!!!!!!!! Johnny Depp is an incredible man, the way he can be completely endearing even with an orange bozo wig and garish makeup and fake gooseberry green eyes. :D [/end fan girl warning] The Bandersnatch was also rather creepily adorable after it came over to Alice's side.

I also loved the way the movie started. I have a thing about the opening scenes of movies...if they're extremely awesome, the movie goes way up in my estimation! And this one was wonderful (Tim Burton's usually are)...the theme playing dramatically to the backdrop of a full moon overlooking a stylized London, with the title in its awesome font flying towards you through the sky. Danny Elfman was the composer, so, therefore, all the music was completely epic!

And, finally, another thing I really liked was how elements of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were woven in. I've loved both of those books since I was about 4 years old, and it was so much fun to see them come to life! The books are rather (extremely) odd themselves, so Tim Burton was the perfect person to make them into a movie, in my opinion!



Sherlock Holmes - As the credits (amazingly epic credits, I might add, with scenes from the movie suddenly turning into sketches) began to roll as we finished watching this movie last night, these were the first words from my lips:

"That. was. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!"

That about sums it up!

I've always been a big Sherlock Holmes fan (and fan girl, I must admit...I developed quite a crush on him, and that certainly hasn't changed after seeing this new incarnation!), ever since watching the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movies for the first time when I was about 11. Those were great, but this...this was awesome!

First of all, I loved the whole atmosphere. It was very underworld of London, steampunk-y, slightly seedy, and reminded me a lot of The Ruby in the Smoke (one of my favorite books, and unfortunately the only good book ever written by Philip Pullman, IMO). Then there was the villain Lord Blackwood, and all the fighting, and the creepy "black magic", and Irene's mysterious employer, which all kept it exciting. Then there was Irene herself, who I thought was really cool. I liked the way she was sort of mysterious and obviously had her own life...it was a nice departure from the usual sidekick. Then there was the humor - Holmes and Watson were absolutely hysterical together!

Watson: "Get that thing out of my face."

Holmes: "It's not in your face, it's in my hand."

Watson: "Then get that thing in your hand out of my face!"

and,

Watson: *enters the room where Holmes is practicing shooting and in the process freaking out the landlady*: "Permission to enter the armory, sir.

And then there was the music! Oh my goodness, Hans Zimmer outdid himself on this soundtrack...it was one of the best I've ever heard! It even made Irish music with annoying singing sound cool! It was epic, there's no other word for it.

The one jarring note...what was up with Mary's hair? Correct me if I'm wrong, but women didn't have big heavy bangs like that back then, did they? I really liked her character, but every time she showed up I winced...the hair just looked totally out of place!

But aside from that I enjoyed every minute of it, and I cannot wait for Sherlock Holmes 2!!!


* * *

I've finally been getting a grip on my fear lately. Fear was my ruling passion for years...I was afraid of the dark, afraid of reading scary books or watching scary movies, afraid of talking to people, afriad of what people were thinking of me, afraid to state my own opinion, afraid to make jokes, even afraid of the sound of my own voice. It's a pretty awful way to be.

But I've been realizing that life is far too short to be afraid to live. It sounds cliche, but it's so true. Fear of what people will think of you or what might happen or that you'll look like an idiot can't stop you from living. You are who God created you to be, and you shouldn't be ashamed of that, or afraid people will hate it. And besides, assuming that people dislike you isn't a very charitable thing to think about them! ;)

Fear kept me from being honest with people. I was afraid they'd mock me, or think badly of me, or pick a fight, or simply think I was weird. I'm just not afraid of that anymore. Really, people generally aren't that bad, and even if they are, oh well. Who cares? Does their opinion really matter in the grand scheme of things? Nope. Fear also kept me from being honest with my friends in that I was afraid to talk to them and afraid to show them that I care about them. And it kept people from seeing the honest-to-goodness real me. I've been noticing lately that the image people seem to have of me is often very different from what I truly am. And as I thought about it, I found that I can think of plenty of instances in which the way I act is not quite in line with what I'm thinking. I'm not calling myself a hypocrite...I hope I'm not...I just tend to suppress the real me for, what I realized, is absolutely no good reason at all.

I read this post by Melody on her wonderful blog Vividry a few days ago, and wow, I couldn't believe how perfectly she described just what I, too, am going through right now! And now I have an excellent mantra. Just do it. Thank you, Melody! :)

Feeling fearless (and, if not completely fearless, at least like you have a grip on your fear and it isn't controlling you) is an exhilarating feeling. I'm starting to realize that I'm at the beginning of my life. Exciting things are just around the bend, and anything can happen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy birthday, Kathryn!



Today Kathryn, one of my closest friends, turns 14. I can't believe she's still so young... :) So, in honor of her birthday, I'm writing her the classic chessy birthday post. :D




It's so funny to think that at this time last year Kathryn and I barely knew one another! I'm so happy that we're friends now, though. She always has a willing ear to listen all my rants, is full of good advice or the ability to just listen (which is sometimes the best thing of all), and is a very trustworthy and faithful friend.




She's also one of the (if not the) very sweetest people I know! I'm always so impressed by her caring nature, her ability to get along with almost everyone, and her patience in situations I'd be tempted to run from screaming. ;)




She's also a wonderful writer, extremely talented with graphic arts, and has an awesome sense of humor (sometimes a rather twisted one...but that's why we get along so well ;)).




And she's beautiful, inside and out!



Happy birthday, Kathryn! I love you! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catch-up.

Wow...was I ever surprised to look at my dashboard and see that I haven't posted anything since July 22! So I shall remedy that...I have a ton to get caught up on.

Firstly, to continue with the subject of my last post, my job is going very well! I've been working there for a month now (only once a week, to be sure), and I got my first pay check a week ago last Friday - $111! In case you're unsure what a busser does and you'd like to know, I'll enlighten you. We're those lowly creatures dressed all in black who race around setting tables, clearing tables, offering the customers water, bringing the waitresses baskets of bread for their tables and other things they may have forgotten such as steak knives, polishing the silverware, carrying huge tubs of dirty dishes into the kitchen and emptying them at the dishwasher, filling pitchers of water, and, when all the customers are gone (which is sometimes as much as an hour after the restaurant closes at 9 pm) we move all the chairs out of the rooms, vacuum the floors, and reset all the tables. I'm really finding it to be a very enjoyable job, though, and I actually prefer the busier nights...less feeling awkward about getting paid for just standing around and talking to your friends. haha

Secondly, I'll talk about camp. It was...interesting! I was a team captain for the first time ever, and as that meant going way out of my comfort zone and staying there for five days, it was pretty stressful. But I had a good time, especially during the Olympics! For some reason, my favorite game was a relay in which we had to run to a table, solve a math equation, and then run back to our team, tagging the person so they could do the same. It was very fun in an odd sort of way.

But for the most part, this summer has been rather boring. I guess the excitement and fun of last summer (Milwaukee, a French girl staying with us, lots of parties) had to last for two years. :P Oh well...

Oh, and from computer land I have good news and bad news! The good news - a friend of ours didn't want her computer anymore, so she gave it to us! It's a flat screen, only about two years old, and runs sooo fast...ah, it's heavenly! Our other computer was so slow it was almost unusable. But the bad news is...the sound doesn't work! :( I'm dying...most of the music I would listen to was on YouTube or my blog playlist. :P And now I'm lost in a silent world...sad, sad, sad. Hopefully we can get it fixed soon!

I've been feeling extremely restless lately. I'm definitely looking forward to fall and winter, because I'm just getting very tired of the lazy days of summer. This fall I'll be taking voice lessons at the music conservatory, auditioning for their choir, taking some ballet, taking Spanish and catechism at church, and hopefully I'll be in a musical!

So, I'm sorry I haven't posted in forever! This was probably a pretty boring post, but...at least you all know I'm still alive! ;)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Exciting news!

I have some very big news! I now have a job! :D

Last Sunday one of my friends told me the restaurant he works at is hiring more people to bus tables on Friday nights, since he knew I've been looking for employment for quite a while now. I called them the next day and was able to get an interview Wednesday night.

When I got there, entering through the large front doors (which, by the by, remind me very much of a hobbit hole - they have a huge circular window), I was about 10 minutes early for my 5:15 interview. There was no one in the lobby, but I could hear people talking in another room and figured there was probably a staff meeting going on. I stood awkwardly in the lobby for about 10 minutes, reading and re-reading the plaques, smiling at passers-by, and feeling more and more uncomfortable. The restaurant is at a golf course, very large, and with big windows that showed lovely views of the golf course which I could see parts of from where I stood. Finally a lady asked if I'd been helped or was just waiting for someone, so I told her I was there for an interview. She told me the staff meeting was going longer than usual and I could just sit down, so I settled into one of the four large chairs near the fireplace and pretended to be doing important things on my phone (the only magazines were golfing related, so there wasn't really any reading material).

At last the staff meeting was over, and D., the lady who would be interviewing me, appeared and brought me an application to fill out. It didn't take long to fill out since I didn't have any past jobs, and D. was quite surprised I was done already when she walked through a second time. Then she sat down and interviewed me, which was quite painless and rather humorous. :D

At the end of the interview, she asked if I'd be ready to start this Friday! I enthusiastically said that would definitely work, and so she gave me all the necessary forms and information, such as wear your hair pulled back and what sort of shoes and socks to wear (black, closed toes, with black socks). She also asked if I'd be fine with being a hostess sometimes, which would mean I'd greet the people who had reservations, bring them to their table, and give them menus, which of course I said I'd love to do! As I went outside, folder full of confusing forms in hand, I tried my hardest to not run until I'd at least gotten out from under the archways leading to the door, but I was SO excited I couldn't help myself and ran to the car as fast as I could! Dreadfully undignified, but oh well. :) Earlier in the week I'd thought that it would be pretty cool if they hired me right then and there and I could start working that Friday, but I thought, "Ah, that'll never happen. They'll have to call my references and everything, so I won't even dwell on it," but it happened! I was so happy! I feel so blessed to have gotten a job so quickly and painlessly!

After I'd excitedly told my dad that I'd been hired and called my mom to give her the big news, Dad suggested we go buy my requisite black pants and black shirt right then. That was incredibly difficult - have you ever tried shopping for a long-sleeved, button-up black shirt in July? Don't, if you wish to preserve your sanity! I finally had to settle for three-quarter length sleeves, which will hopefully be acceptable for summer at least. And since I'm so tiny, finding dress pants also proved to be quite a challenge. After I'd almost given up hope since the Petites section had no sizes under 6, I spotted some in the Juniors section that were size 1. They were exactly 6 1/2" inches too long, as I discovered while altering them today, but they FIT! So now I have my clothes...I'll have to take a picture tomorrow so you all can see how official I look. ;)

The other exciting that hadn't occurred to me would happen is...I'll be getting a checking account! Now that is scarily grownup...I'm past the point of no return, no going back now! ;) And I suppose I'll have to learn how to balance the checkbook...fun stuff.

So yes, that would be my big news. Exciting! At this time last week, I'd no idea I'd a have a job in a week! :D

*****
I added a few songs to the playlist at the bottom of the page and deleted a few others. It's quite an eclectic mix...everything from the Secret Garden to Skillet...and I hope you hear something you like! :)

*****
And thank you SO much to Rocina Fontina for giving me the Princess of Feminine Delight award! :) That was so sweet of you!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

100th Post!

We watched Eight Below last night. Amendment: my mom and sister watched Eight Below - I ended up running out of the room screaming! Here's a brief synopsis of the movie, in case you've never heard of it: Jerry is a guide in Antarctica, and provides transportation for scientists with the aid of his beloved dogsled team. On one journey, the scientist he is assisting breaks his leg, Jerry gets frostbitten fingers, and after getting back to the station in the nick of time before a huge storm hits, they have to be airlifted to the hospital. And sadly, there is no room on the plane for the dogs. After plans to return immediately to get them fall through due to the awful weather, Jerry is forced to return to the U.S, tortured by the thought that he left his dogs to die. It turns out fairly well, with Jerry being reunited with 6 of his dogs months later.

However, in one part one of the dogs is eating an orca carcass (naaasty looking), when suddenly a huge, hideous, nightmarish-looking leopard seal comes bursting out of it! I screamed bloody murder! Thinking about it still gives me the creeps, in fact. :P I stuck around, slightly petrified by the seal (if you don't know what they look like, here is a picture. *shudders* And they're huge), until the seal, which had vanished back under the ice, suddenly popped out of a hole and grabbed one of the dogs by the leg! That was when I leapt off the couch, bolted upstairs, and started reading C.S Lewis. :P Good comfort for a troubled mind.

But before I tell you how, thanks to Mere Christianity, a question that had been troubling me has been answered, I'll remark that I really dislike movies like Eight Below and March of the Penguins. It's not that I find that morally problematic...I just find them terribly depressing. I guess it's because it just seems so hopeless, since even when things are at their worst for humans, they still have reason and can at least try to find a way out. And even if they do die in the end, if they were a good person you know they're going to a better place, but when animals die, that's that. They're guided entirely by instinct, they don't understand what's happening to them, and all in all it makes for a depressing experience.


Anyways...on to brighter topics!

For months, I've been struggling with the question of why God gave us free will. The answer I was always given was, "Because we cannot love without being free, and He wanted us to be able to love Him." To me this always just seemed terribly selfish, so I figured I must be missing something. I was, and it was all made clear in Chapter Three of Book Two of Mere Christianity.

"Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot imagine such a thing. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata - of creatures that worked like machines - would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

"Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk. Perhaps we feel inclined to disagree with Him. But there is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on. If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will - that is, for making a live world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings - then we may take it it is worth paying."
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

You would not believe how grateful I was when I read that. For months, I'd been tortured with doubts about free will. It seemed selfish and unnecessarily cruel of God to give us our free wills simply that we may love Him when it was so terribly easy for us to go astray. But after reading that, I realized, among other things, that God does not need us. He doesn't need our love, so why would He create a bunch of automatons simply to love Him? It would be absurd. But He loves us, and He loves us so intensely that He wants us to share in His love. And as C.S. Lewis pointed out, He knew there would be great risks in giving us free will, and He knew it was worth the risk.

With that thought in mind, isn't it awe-inspiring to imagine what the Beatific Vision must be?


Well, back to more earthly topics. I have joined that venerable company of people who have...found their first gray hair! :^O Except in my case, it skipped gray and went directly to white. :P My mom and I were taking a walk and as I ran my fingers through my hair, I glanced down and noticed one of the strands looked very pale.

"It must just be blonde," I thought, since I have a few hairs that are very light blonde amidst the majority of brown. But it looked awfully pale...I looked closer...

"Mum," I said, "I just found a white hair!"

She looked at it and confirmed that yes, indeed, I have a white hair! It's sooo weird... I hope it stops right there for...um...at least 20 more years?


So here it is, folks - my 100th post! I can't believe I've actually written that much on here. I've officially been on Blogger since February 2009, but I didn't actively start blogging until June of last year...just a little over a year ago. I'd wanted a blog for months, but I just couldn't think of anything to write about. Suddenly, however, I started thinking of things, and I haven't stopped since!

And I am so, so, SO thrilled to have 43 followers! It is so wonderful and encouraging to know that there are people out there who enjoy my writing. Thank you SO much! You're all so very much appreciated, and I keep you in my prayers. Every time I get a new follower, I shriek happily, "Yay! I have another follower!"

So, since it seems like people often have some sort of celebratory thing when they reach a significant number of posts or followers or years on Blogger, I thought I'd borrow Melody's idea. You can ask me any question you'd like (within reason, naturally. heehee), and I will answer them all in a post next Saturday! Yay...you get to know more about me...exciting. Sarcasm there. ;) But I really enjoyed reading Melody's post, and I figure, we all like learning more about our friends, be it IRL or in the blogosphere. So...ask away, me hearties! Yo ho!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Days...

Today was one of the greatly anticipated days of summer...the church picnic!

I really love the picnic - I have ever since the first one we attended, and that was 6 years ago! I love spending time with my friends and being outside and playing sports/games and eating picnic food and listening to people play their musical instruments. Today, I ended up playing tennis, badminton (I was so surprised when I realized that it's spelled badminton), volleyball, a game reminiscent of monkey in the middle, jump rope, frisbee, soccer, tug of war, and kickball.

The tennis balls went flying crazily all over the park; I'm terrible at badminton; it was a semi-lame game of volleyball in which everyone kept switching sides whenever they wished ;); the monkey-in-the-middle-ish game took a very long time because of how we are all very good at throwing, catching, and confusing people :D; jump rope was actually quite fun, and I have retained my skillz; the frisbee ended up on the roof of a little concrete utility shed, and I was able to hoist myself up on it with my own two arms...I felt veddy strong! ;) (I'm terrible at frisbee too, though...one of my friends told me to throw it harder and pretend I was trying to take off his head. lol); one of my friends and I were going to play a one-on-one game of soccer, rushed at the ball, collided, and didn't even touch the ball...it was hilarious :D; we all got our fingers hurted playing tug of war; and our ball was commandeered halfway through the very confusing game of kickball. But despite all that, I think I can safely say everyone had a wonderful time! We know how to have fun. :)

Oh, and I did all of the above in a skirt, with no problems whatsoever! :)

I realized today that I'm really not terribly good at most sports, (I might just need more practice, though). I love playing them, however! Everyone has always told me that I'm very competitive, and I guess I'm realizing that I am. *smiles sheepishly* But that's not a bad thing at all, in my opinion. It's kinda funny that the truth eluded me for so long, however, seeing as every time I'm running with someone it turns into a die-hard race (for my part, at least).

Oh, and while I'm talking about sport-like things, I'll make the announcement that I now know how to swim! :D :D :D We decided to brave the public pool one evening after noticing that it's really not that busy and ran into some friends from church, Mrs. W and her two daughters. Mrs. W was able to teach me how to swim! I can now do the breaststroke and the crawl. It's sooo much fun...I can't wait for swimming lessons in the fall! I just wish water didn't have to be chlorinated, since it aggravates my asthma. :P

We watched The Return of the King last night. I looooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeee that movie...as I'm sure you all know. :) After last night's viewing, I noticed two things (I always notice new things): I like the secondary characters (such as Eomer and Theoden) a lot more than I used to, and this time I felt such an incredible feeling of relief when the Ring was destroyed! I guess it just really hit me...wow...it's gone. They accomplished what they set out to do, and the world has been saved. What an incredible feeling of disbelief, wonder, and awe would fill your heart after accomplishing something like that! This time around, I also really noticed how hard Frodo fought to destroy the Ring. It was killing him, but he pressed on untiringly. He's always been my favorite character.

So, these are a few of my favorite moments from my favorite movie ever: Arwen seeing the vision of her son (it's such a beautiful message of what a gift life and a mother's love is, and always makes me cry); the moment when Eowyn says, "I am no man!" and kills the Nazgul ( my mom and I agree that that is the coolest part of the entire trilogy!); Galadriel helping Frodo press on in Shelob's Lair; Theoden's speech before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields when he hits his sword against the spears; Aragorn's speech to the Men of the West before the Black Gate (both of those parts give me chills!); and the entire end.

*sighs* The Lord of the Rings is just one-of-a-kind.

On a different note, this is my 99th post! :O :D I feel like I should do something special for it, but I've no idea what. :P Any ideas? :)

I am thinking of redesigning my blog, however...even though that makes me so nervous! I don't know...I don't like change. But I am getting a wee bit tired of this layout, so I think I will.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Distant Dreamer

I was listening to one of my mixed CDs that I haven't listened to in a while, and came across this song - "Distant Dreamer", by Duffy. I realized that this is definitely my theme song! :D It describes me and my general outlook on life extremely well.



So anyways...

Life has been going pretty normally. Therefore, I can't think of anything to post. :P Well, here's one thing! I have many teeth issues (hence my oh-so-lovely braces...), and there was a good chance I'd need oral surgery to correct the placement of one of them if it didn't come in on its own. But the good news is...it started coming in today! The only bad thing is that it's coming in through the roof of my mouth - rather unpleasant. But I'm SO relieved that I won't need the oral surgery! Now all that needs to be done is for it to come in all the way and the orthodontist will attach a bracket to it and wire it to the rest of my braces.

I sincerely hope that wasn't Too Much Information for anyone! :/ *smiles hopefully*

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bread and Movie Trivia!

It has been so unseasonably cold here! When I got up at 7 am, it was only 50 degrees Fahrenheit out. Brrr! It's 66 right now, which is still pretty cold for the last day of June. o.O

I felt like baking, so I made not one, but two loaves of bread. The banana bread had to bake for an hour, so I decided to just bake a loaf of oat bread as well, since it bakes for only 15 minutes. The house smells sooo good right now!

I also cleaned parts of the house, and I think I've figured out why cleaning can be so therapeutic. You can feel like this, at least, is something you're in control of. And often thoughts will start spinning out of control, but when you clean, you can actually see something become orderly.

And now for the Movie Trivia Game!

I thought it would be fun. Some of my friends have done it on Facebook and I've seen it on a few other blogs lately, so I thought I'd give it a try!

Here are the rules:

1. Pick 20 of your favorite movies.

2. Go to IMDB.com and find a quote from each movie.

3. Post them for everyone to guess.

4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.

5. NO cheating.

I'll give you until next Wednesday to guess. :)


1. Character #1: - "Look at me. What did you see?"
Character #2: - "A tree. There was a white tree in a courtyard of stone. It was dead. The city was burning." Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, guessed by Christina and Vicki

2. Character #1 - "If I can't win, I won't run!"
Character #2 - "If you don't run, you can't win." Chariots of Fire, guessed by AutumnRose

3. Character #1: - "Reckon I'll leave my brains at home, then." North and South, guessed by Jessica

4. Character #1 - "I'm sorry I said anything about it now. I'll try to find a more agreeable piece of news."
[pause]
Character #1: "Old Marjorie at the lodge is dead." Wives and Daughters, guessed by Jessica

5. Character #1 - "The fact that you rescued me, unnecessarily, hardly wipes out past wrongs." Anne of Green Gables, guessed by Vicki

6. Character #1 - "Some day it'll just end. Everyone will go home, get on with their lives. Tall grass will cover the battlefields. And all the pilots we've lost won't mean a d--n thing." Flyboys

7. Character #1 - "I was so tall."
Character #2 - "Well, you were older then."
Character #3 - "As opposed to hundreds of years later, when you're younger." Prince Caspian, guessed by Jessica

8. Character #1 - "A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?"
Character #2 - "Then I shall have to make you wings." Ever After, guessed by Jessica

9. Character #1 - [holding Character #2's cat] She's so soft. And she's vibrating.
Character #2 - She's purring, David. I Am David

10. Character #1 - "No one of our age has ever taken power."
Character #2 - "Which is why we're too young to realize certain things are impossible. Which is why we will do them anyway." Amazing Grace, guessed by Christina and Vicki

11. Character #1 - "Monsieur! You are now addressing the second most celebrated balloonist in Europe."
Character #1 - "And who is the first?"
Character #1 - "He is not available. He was, uh, buried last Tuesday." Around the World in Eighty Days, guessed by RoseinFaith

12. Character #1 - "Oh, er, do you mind if I ask you a question, frankly? Do you love my daughter?"
Character #2 - "Any guy that'd fall in love with your daughter ought to have his head examined."
Character #1 - "Now that's an evasion!" It Happened One Night, guessed by RoseinFaith

13. Character #1 - "How many have I had?"
Character #2 - "Two."
Character #1 - "Make it an uneven three." The Sound of Music, guessed by Jessica and Vicki

14. Character #1 - "Never again will I allow WOMEN to wear my dresses! " Top Hat

15. Character #1 - "That's it. Out you two pixies go - through the door, or out the window. " It's a Wonderful Life, guessed by Vicki

16. Character #1 - [exits study, finds four of his daughters eavesdropping] "Good heavens. People." Pride and Prejudice (2005), guessed by Christina and Vicki

17. Character #1 - "I've been sitting right here since seven o'clock."
Character #2 - "Yes, with your back to me. When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay." A Night at the Opera

18. Character #1 - "She saves me from an inferno and she's glad she happened to be awake." Jane Eyre, guessed by Audrey

19. Character #1 - "I'm fighting for something that's real for the first time in my life! " Step Up

20. Character #1 - "I feel as though someone's handed me the moon... and I don't exactly know what to do with it." Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel, guessed by Vicki

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One of those days...

It's one of those days...one of those days when you just feel sort of out of it...and depressed...and like doing something interesting...but there's nothing to do. :P I think I'm feeling people deprived - I wasn't able to talk to any of my friends after Mass today! So I will try and cheer myself up by writing a long, random, rambly post. ;)

I think I have finally figured out what my temperament (for more on the temperaments, here's an article I wrote on them) is! At various times in my life, I've thought I was choleric, melancholic, or sanguine (but never phlegmatic). I now think I'm melancholic-choleric, because of my mix of introversion and extroversion, and, well, I think I have a lot of traits from both temperaments. *sighs contentedly* For some reason it's so nice to know these things! I also found out that my Myers-Briggs personality is INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive), and the descriptions I've read sound very much like me.

* * *

I read (actually re-read) a very good book yesterday - The Borrowed House, by Hilda van Stockum. The first time I read it, I was about the age of the main character - 12 - and, like her, many things just went over my head. But with this reading, I was able to really appreciate what a wonderful book it is. It's set during WWII, but from an angle that is seldom heard from - 12-year-old Janna is a member of Hitler's Youth, and believes fervently everything they indoctrinate her in. After she is sent to live with her actor parents in Amsterdam, however, things begin to change. She sees more clearly what the Nazis are doing, and the foundations of her world begin to tilt. I sort of fell in love with this book...I remember loving it when I was 12, too, but I think I love it even more now. It truly paints a vivid picture of what things were like during WWII, and brought tears to my eyes by the second chapter. And **SPOILER** I just know that Janna and Sef will find one another when the war is over! I wish there was a sequel. :) **END SPOILER** Hilda van Stockum is such a talented writer and portrays her characters so sympathetically and well that you feel their pain and suffering as though you were suffering it yourself. Much as I love this book, I find books about WWII to be so disturbing...it happened not so very long ago, and it could happen again. God grant that it won't.

* * *

I just experienced a really cool weather phenomenon! It started raining about 15 minutes ago, but before long I saw the sun shining through the window. It was still raining, however, and it looked so beautiful that I just had to go outside. As I stood in the sunlight in the front yard, raining pouring on my head, I could see the sky was blue on one side of the house and full of gray clouds on the other. As the clouds moved over my head the rain lightened up and eventually stopped, but when I ran over to the sidewalk it was still raining! It was so strange, but really cool.

* * *
And with that, I shall leave you. Today wasn't the greatest, but I know it won't stay like this. Ohhh! I forgot to mention - we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the other night, and I must admit I loved it! :) It's so crazy...and weird...and hilarious ("Even I am edible, but that is called cannibalism. And cannibalism, my dear children, is something that is frowned upon in most decent societies.")...and Johnny Depp is my favorite actor, I've decided. My family has also been having far too much fun watching the Marx Brothers lately...our favorites so far are A Night at the Opera and Room Service. :D

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nightwatch

This is a poem I've been wanting to write for months. The first two lines came to me one day last winter, but then I could not think of any more! I was finally able to finish it last week, however, and here it is.


Nightwatch

I have written of such beauty in the dark watches of the night,
When all the world lay silent, and shrouded with the dreams
Of the sad and lonely heart, torn asunder by its fears,
Dreams of battles fierce, as of yet unseen.
Dreams of a troubled heart, wet with tears and torn with strife,
Darkness leads to nameless terror, which misery alone will bring.

But some dreams were illumined with the light of the stars,
They shone in the darkness, they brought forth the joy
Of the heart full of peace, that seeks God even in dreams,
Dreams of purest beauty, with the strength they bring.
Dreams of truth and goodness, of hearts beating for a life -
Darkness leads to nameless wonder, which Truth alone will bring.

And I sat in silence wondering, my pen held in my hand,
Wondering how to tell it, this dark song of life.
Of the pain and the beauty, seen only when all is still,
Of the wonder grand, its perfect melody.
A song of peace and courage, a song of fear and strife -
This, all this I saw as I watched in the darkest night.

The words came to my heart and told of the watches of the night,
And I knew my gift was true, I knew my pen was strong.
I told of the beauty, of the glory of our life,
Told of the wondrous pain, the suffering of a wrong.
And the dreams came unto me, and they filled me with their joy,
And I wrote of their beauty in the dark watches of the night.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A lovely day.

Today was a marvelously beautiful day (and still is)! It started out with fog, which was absolutely breathtaking as it blanketed the alley. An infusion of sunlight turned it to the softest sort of gold. We walked to Mass (about a mile through a residential area of our town) through the mist and gray, so it was rather a surprise to find it completely sunny and clear when Mass was over! But it was that sort of brightness and blueness you only see on very hot, humid days, when it looks like there's a piece of gauze stretched across the sky.

But geez...it's true, no good deed goes unpunished! heehee My mom, sister, and I were taking a walk around church (long story, but we had some time to kill after Mass). We passed the antique store that's on the corner, and noticed a sad sight. There was a big pot of petunias completely upended and smashed on the grass! The stand they had been on had blown part way over and they had fallen to their doom. :( :P So I went and tried to pick them up, but the stand fell over on me and hit me on the bridge of my nose! It hurt rather badly, and almost knocked me out...probably would have if it had fallen on my head, as it was very heavy! I was slightly dazed for a moment, and then asked my mom, "Is my nose broken?" She assured me it wasn't, and now I just have a bruise there that basically looks like a huge freckle. Ya just can't win...haha.

I also learned the joys of playing Solitaire on my laptop from my sister. It really is very fun, and way too addicting! She won two games and I won one (with her help, I must admit!). I also took some pictures...the timer setting is so much fun! Here are a few of them.



You can see where the evil plant stand attacked me. haha

I also had a prayer answered, so thank you very, very much, God! :) I knew that all would be well.