Sunday, February 21, 2010



I'm craving meat.

I gave it up for Lent, you see. Not fish though. My friend Mario was wondering what the hell the creatures of the sea ever did to me to warrent such exclusion. I just don't include fish in the 'meat' category - 'meat' to me is all things terrestrial. Fish is fish.

I know it's a weird distinction, and wrong on all sorts of levels - but there you have it.

So yes. I gave meat up for Lent. So I've managed to go a whopping four days without it, and already I'm ready to chew off my own hand and sautee it with garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Make a lovely pasta dish with it, perhaps.

Everyone asks me the same thing - why on earth would I give up something that I'd miss so much? Especially since I can't partake in all those lovely meat-substitutes made out of tofu (I'm allergic to soy)?

Well, the answer is twofold:

Lent is, and always has been, one of my favorite times in the Catholic Church. I revel in the ceremonies, and the traditions. They link me to the rest of the Church, and to the people in centuries past that engaged in the same sorts of traditions. I never really "got it" when I was a kid - I mostly just always figured that it was dumb and stupid and I'd much rather be out playing than sitting in some dumb church listening to some old guy preach on and on about sin and redemption. So when I did "get it," I started researching it.

And what I found kind of blew my mind.

There was a reason behind all of it! Golly gee wilikers, they hadn't been lying to me thoughout my fourteen years of good ole' guilt-inducing Catholic schooling.

I began to research the symbolism behind the Catholic faith, and what it really means to be catholic. To me, faith is something that is innately personal, and I had never really understood why anyone would want to worship in a congregation-type setting.

I still consider my faith to be a deeply personal thing, but I also see the validity in group worship. It's a way to stay connected to one another, to know that you belong to something that's bigger than yourself. It's a community.

To me, this is most evident during the season of Lent. Don't be surprised if you start seeing religion pop up into my posts here and now - I'm afraid that it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately.

You see, me and the Church have a love-hate relationship. On the one hand, I was raised Catholic, and I feel almost "at home" during mass. It's familiar to me, and I agree with the majority of the values behind the preachings.

However, I find that I almost kind of fall into a grey area. I am a (at times rabid) supporter of gay marriage, I believe in evolution, and I think that sometimes religion can cloud a person's judgement on what is right and what is wrong. I had a mini-falling out with the Church about two years ago.

I was on top of the world. I was a leader and youth minister to the high-school portion of our youth group, I was teaching confirmation classes, I was even starting up a brand-new group for the young adults of our parish. I was an "insider," someone who was privvy to the inner-workings of the parish.

And then it all went to shit. I began to see that the people around me - the leaders of the parish, all those people that I had idolized as a child - were flawed. They were petty and they gossiped and they engaged in behavior that was less-than-Godly.

They were human.

After a series of incidents that left a bitter taste in my mouth concerning the Church, I left.

And now I'm back. We're going to be starting a young adult ministry - something I was trying to get off the ground before I left. I spent eight months with my partner planning it - writing out lesson plans and coming up with material - since there was no published material that I could find on teaching and exploring Catholicism with young adults. And now they want both me and my partner back. And so I've gone back, and realized that I missed the Church while I was away.

Whatever happens, I think it was meant to be this way. I think that I should do this, if not for myself then for my kids (most of whom now fall into the over-18 crowd now - I feel so old!).

So here's hoping that this works out. :)

**Big thanks to Augapfel for letting me use the above image :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You WILL be helped!

So I recently came across an article about "qualities to cultivate within yourself." I read through it, amused as hell at the overwhelmingly arrogant attitude of the author.

She listed all sorts of nice things, like selflessness, loyalty, humility, integrity - basically all those qualities that Disney told you that you need in order to lead a successful life.

What irks me, what really really irks me is that well...not all of us can be perfect. And I think that it's incredibly high-handed for someone to sit there and write an article about what you, yes you gentle reader, need to do in order to 'better' yourself as a person.

Don't get me wrong. These are all great personality traits to have, and I certainly admire them in the people who have them. I'd even like to think that I have a few of them.

And that's where the crux of my problem with the article lies.

I think that most people already believe they have these qualities (whether or not they do is irrelevant). And so, what's the point of reading the article in the first place?

It's like telling a little kid to be good when they're sitting on a church bench. They think they're already being good because hey, they're in church and so far there hasn't been any major bodily injuries or furniture damage. From the parent's perspective though, the child's behavior is just a disaster waiting to happen.

I'd provide the link to the article in question, but it doesn't really matter. It's not the first article of its kind I've come across, and it's far from being the last.

And, quite frankly, I'm sick of reading article about how to improve myself from under qualified writers who provide no supportive backing for their thesises. Or is it thesii? Huh...note to self: look up the plural for thesis later, when I decide to give a shit.

I'm off for a snowball fight. I'll ponder the meaning of self-improvement later.

Friday, February 5, 2010


So I'm sitting here, waiting for this storm to supposedly ravage Delaware. The Weather Channel Word on the street says that we could get up to two feet.

I'll pause while all you northerners laugh at our panic.

K, done yet? No? Ok, I'll give you another moment.

So I'm just sitting here, with nothing to do. I've already consumed The Fifth Element (stop laughing), and I'm working my way through Pearl Harbor and a bottle of wine.

I really need to update my DVD collection - I've been forced to watch what's on television because there's simply nothing else.

I bought a final fantasy game today (FFXII, for those who were interested). It looks promising. I was going to get a new Wii game, but I couldn't justify spending $44.99 on a new game.

So I grabbed a used copy of FFXII for a few bucks.

Anyways, I think ya'll should go visit my "other" blog.

That's right. I have another blog. It was just so full of the shiny objects, Blogger, that I couldn't resist. And I can't promise that there won't be indiscretions in the future.


Monday, February 1, 2010


My grandmother is eighty years old.

Last night was her birthday celebration. And I do mean celebration.

It's not every day that one turns eighty, people! And so I was forced persuaded to dress in my most uncomfortable finest clothing and attend Effie's birthday party.

And yes. Effie is her real name. She hates it with a passion. As she puts it, her mother must have hated her to name her that. I think it's an adorable name.

She's my mother's mother, and I can totally see where both my and my mother's neuroses comes from. According to my cousins, all my aunts have the same issues too.

Oh yea, Grandma? She had six (SIX) daughters. Poor Grandpa - all he wanted was a son. He eventually gave up trying and settled for male dogs.

I love my Grandmom. She defines classy. She also defines 'strong-willed,' a trait that has been passed down through the generations. Even though she's a bit on the tough side (it's the Irish in her, I'm told), she always spoiled us.

I remember when I was little, she used to serve me these little ice cream cups. The type that were half chocolate, half vanilla, and had a little wooden spoon in the top.

I begged my mother to buy them, and she never did. She'd give me a bowl of chocolate/vanilla ice-cream, but I'd pout and throw a fit because IT WASN'T THE SAME AS GRANDMA'S.

I was a bitch like that.

She used to let me swim in her swimming pool, and eat as much candy as I wanted, and watch as much television as I could stomach. And it was because of her that I began my love affair with books.

I hardly ever get to see my grandparents anymore. When I was younger, we used to see them every few months - there was usually some reason to get together. In the spring we'd go to the country club and enjoy their annual picnic. I'd always be dressed up in some frilly thing (as would the rest of the cousins), and my best pat-and-leather shoes.

We'd ride the ponies and blow bubbles and cause all sorts of mischief and mayhem. Well, they caused mischief and mayhem. I was an angel.

Every Thanksgiving we'd attend the country club again. They would have it laid out buffet-style, and we'd pick and choose what we wanted. I was small then as well - I could barely see over the tops of the tables (I was a freakishly tiny child. I didn't hit five feet until I was in high-school). My cousins would run throughout the restaurant, but I never really connected with them. So, I would sit with my mother, or one of the aunts, or one of my Grandparents. I used to love to sit with my Grandpop - he was a wall of silent reassurance. He'd ruffle my hair, and give me his dessert (our little secret, he'd say).

In later years, they stopped going to the country club, and we started having the celebrations at my grandparent's house. However, as the years trickled by, things began to change. We dropped the Thanksgiving and spring get-togethers, and eventually we only met up with the extended family for Christmas. I began to look forward to Christmas, because I knew that on Christmas I'd get to see my grandparents.

My grandfather is a tall, strong man, who happens to be missing most of his hair. My grandmother is the love of his life, and even if she exasperates him to no end with her psychosis (it runs in the family, I'm told), he would do anything for her.

I saw this last night. I saw the love that was apparent in his eyes as he gazed at his wife - my Grandmother. He got up, gave a speech, and brought her to tears.

For once all the family drama was erased (and we've had our share of it the last few years).

For a moment, just a moment, it was like the old days.