Monday, June 30, 2008
I was so worried I failed.. I thought I did awful on it. I was so relieved and excited when I got the e-mail today. WOO HOO!!!!!!
*Does happy dance*
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Vatican paper says pope does not wear Prada
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The devil may wear Prada — but the pope does not. According to the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the bright red loafers that Pope Benedict XVI wears are not designed by the Milanese fashion house, as has long been rumored.
"Obviously the attribution was false," the Vatican newspaper said in its Thursday's editions.
"Such rumors are inconsistent with the simple and somber man who, on the day of his election to the papacy, showed to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and to the whole world the sleeves of a modest black sweater," it said.
Still, Benedict's fashion sense has often drawn media attention.
Three years ago around Christmas, he showed up for his weekly public audience in St. Peter's Square wearing a fur-trimmed stocking cap that could have passed for a Santa Claus hat. The hat, as it turned out, is a "camauro," which dates back to the Middle Ages and figures in many papal portraits.
On a separate occasion, Benedict sported a sumptuous red velvet cape trimmed in ermine — another piece of traditional papal attire that had long been abandoned.
L'Osservatore Romano said the pope's interest in clothes has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with liturgy — what symbolism traditional garments can bring to the Christian liturgy.
"The pope, therefore, does not wear Prada, but Christ," L'Osservatore said.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I tried to work through it Monday, when I went in for a 5 hour shift. I had to use a shopping cart to help me get around, and they pulled a cashier from the front end to help me get things for customers without me having to bend over. Getting in and out of the car is a real problem when this happens to my back, and when I got home from work, my back got so bad that when I got out of the car, I dropped my shopping bag. After a few minutes, I managed to get my cell phone from the holder and call my Dad. He had to help me walk to my room, since I couldn't do it under my own power.
Yesterday morning, I woke up and got out of bed to use the bathroom. I experienced such pain that I collapsed to the floor... yelling out in pain. My sister heard me and sent Dad down to try to help. I had to stay on the floor for about a half hour, and couldn't move without experiencing extreme pain. Dad kept wanting to call an ambulance, but I refused. I managed to be able to get to the bathroom, but again, under extreme pain. I have been using my hiking stick to help me get around better, and take some of the pressure off my back. Gravity seems to be the enemy.
Once my doctor's office opened, he gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxer. It didn't really start to help until the evening.
I'm still quite stiff, but I've been able to go upstairs for food, and can walk without the hiking stick. I still can't stand for long periods of time, and can't move too much or too fast at once. I still have to lay down most of the time, but the pain is no where near as strong as it was yesterday... thank God.
I doubt I will be going into work tomorrow morning. I need all the rest I can get, not to mention the pills make me very drowsy. Hopefully I'll be back to "normal" Friday.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
After 9am Mass at my parish of St. Anthony's, I made the drive back home to North Tonawanda to attend yet another Mass. This time, I was not going to fulfill my Sunday obligation, which I prefer to do at St. Anthony's where I can attend the more ancient Liturgical form of the Mass, but in order to say good bye to the parish I grew up in.
As I had mentioned earlier in this blog, the Church where I went to school, made most of the sacraments, and grew up within is now closing. Today was the final Mass before locking the doors.
I arrived two minutes before the Mass began, and walked into a standing room only. There were so many cars that people were parking all up and down Payne Avenue. I spotted my friend Anne in the congregation, and snagged the seat in her pew which she was saving for me. This was to be the second Mass for both of us today, though as we agreed, we are probably still going to Hell none the less.
It was a very sad day for many of us, and by the time the Mass was over, most people had tears streaming down their faces. So much in that building brought back memories of my youth. Even the smell of the incense that was being used (yes, there are multiple scents and types), reminded me of happy moments of days gone by.
At the end of the Mass, the pastor removed the altar stone from the altar, so as to deconsecrate the altar. He processed with it down the isle to the front doors of the Church where we all followed in procession. Once outside, we all gathered around as Father offered one more final blessing upon those gathered, and with eyes filled with tears, closed and locked the doors to St. Joseph's one last time.
About 600 of us gathered for a bbq in the back, where multiple tents had been assembled. There were people there I hadn't seen in years, and the event became a sort of reunion for me, as well as a parting. We all sat around talking, laughing, and sharing our memories of living within the parish community all these years as well as what was going on in our lives currently.
There was a sister there whom I recognized from the Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph, who staffed the parish school until 1990. I went up to her, and as it turned out, my memory was right. It was Sr. Conrad whom I had met when my mom took me to register for Kindergarten at St. Joe's back in 1986 (I think). She was then principal at St. Joe's, but later transferred to another school. It was nice to talk with her, and the other sisters who were there from the Mother house in Hamburg. I found out that my first grade teacher, Sr. Dorothy is not doing well physically, so I am trying to find a day when I can go up to the Mother house to see her in the near future.
I had so much fun laughing and remeniscing with everyone there. Some of my first students from when I began teaching Religious Ed back in the 90's were there. I started out teaching Kindergarten, and then moved to third grade where I had to pleasure to teach some of the same students again. One of the boys whom I taught my first year is now a Junior in High School!! After talking with his mother, we both agreed that we felt old!
It was a wonderful celebration, but in our hearts, it was also a type of funeral. After 61 years, that parish community is no more. I over heard one woman, who was there for the dedication of the parish back in 1947 say: "You imagine that these houses of God will serve as our spiritual home until the end of time. You never imagine they will close." It's so true.
Catholic Churches are not the only denomination that have had to scale down their parishes, merge, and close doors. People of real faith are becoming an endangered species. There are some who would argue that religion is becoming irrelevant in our society, but I feel we need it now most of all. People need to learn that THEY as the individual are not the beginning and end in this life. Just look around and see how well we've done as a people without faith in something greater than ourselves.. without trusting in God.
Though it is just brick and mortar, it was my spiritual home for so long... and nourished the beginning of my journey of faith which continues on. Though it is hard to see it close, the faith I have gained from my years there, and the love I felt from so many wonderful friends, teachers and clergy will carry with me in my heart always... and I hope, I can touch other people's lives and hearts by following the examples of charity and love that I was so fortunate to have in my life from such an early age.
In Memoriam: St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church - North Tonawanda - 1947-2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
You can smell the rain in the air. That magical scent of nature that drifts along the night breeze, telling you of the changes mother natures has planned. The flash of lightning that shines through the window, a reminder of the meagerness of man.
Faces from behind glass frames peer out with smiles on their faces, void of all fears. Faces of by gone times, old friends and loved ones long gone. The candle flickers as the light reflects off the glass frame, reminiscent of the life that burned so brightly from the hearts and souls of those whom are remembered.
It's so quiet here. It's just me.
Friday, June 20, 2008
As my friend and I were talking, and the topic of me driving a car "that looks like it belonged to my Grandma", I started to wonder how many people judge me just based on my material possessions. Is it a fair? How many potential friends have I lost? I know, I have lost potential boyfriends because of my taste.
My family always referred to me as an old soul, but I'm just me. I gravitate towards people and things that strike a chord in me. I don't know where the pull comes from or why, all I know is that I know happy and comfortable when I feel it.
I feel like I should make a list of all these oddities and simply hand it to new people I meet, such as potential boyfriends. I always try to go with the flow of the people I'm with, but often times respecting a persons individuality is not a two way street.
The ME List:
1. I'm hard core Catholic. My faith has always meant a lot to me, and I take it seriously. I don't push it on people, and I don't expect you to follow my belief system. I do however go to Mass every Sunday morning and pray and meditate in private. You follow whatever beliefs or non-beliefs you want, but leave mine alone... my spirituality need not involve you. The priest and the altar boy jokes are definitely not welcomed. Ever.
2. I'm dry and sarcastic. I generally say what is on my mind, though I make a conscious effort not to be too offensive. I'm not going to always sugar coat life. If you're getting on my nerves, or if I'm in a bad mood.. believe me, you'll know it. When I'm in a good mood, you'll know it. When I'm quiet, leave me alone.
3. I don't like to drink. Booze and I don't mix well.. I don't even like the taste. Yes, I love wine, but my idea of a good time has nothing to do with going out and getting wasted. Wine is great, and I love to drink it with friends, but going to "the club" isn't among my top 10 list of things to do. I'd rather sit and chat in a coffee house than sit in a bar.
4. I hate sports. If you like them.. enjoy them! That's what they are there for. Watch them, play them, knock yourself out. It's a great thing to follow if you like it. I personally don't, so please don't expect me to sit there and watch a game with you and get all excited about it. It's not going to happen.
5. I like big cars. I drive a Buick. If I'm the one making the car payments, and I'm the one spending the most time in it, then I'm getting what I want. I'm not a speed demon, I have no desire to race, or have my car look "hot". I like comfortable cars with leather seats, wood trim interior, a smooth ride, and the power when I put my foot down on the gas. I like a car that has some style, like the cars of the 30's and 40's. I like the touring car, not the race car. Your car/truck/SUV is wonderful... but I don't want it... please don't try to convince me that I do.
6. Hats are a good thing. People, especially men, look great in them. Baseball caps however are not the only style hat in the world. Baseball caps might look great on you, and I probably would agree they look good on me, but I'm not wearing one often. I'm not a walking advertisement for a brand name or a sports team. I don't like sports so I'm not going to wear a cap that evolved from the sport it gets its name from. Newsboy caps and fedoras work just fine for me. I didn't start wearing them because Justin Timberlake did, I wear them because I like them, and always have.
7. I don't care about clothing brands as long as the clothes look good, good quality and are affordable. I don't need designer jeans or show off the brand across my chest for the world to see. I prefer to dress up more, not dress down. I'd wear a shirt and tie everyday if appropriate, though I am most often found in jeans and a button down shirt. Preppy is fine with me.
8. I like the "finer" things in life, not that I MUST have them. I appreciate them however, and enjoy them when I can. I'd be just as comfortable at a black tie event as I would be at a cook out.
9. If there was one genre of music I had to chose as my favorite, it would be Big Band. I like music that has a beat, I could dance to (if I danced), has a fun rhythm, and makes you think about the happier side of life. I can appreciate most all music, and listen to many forms, though they would mostly fall under the category of "easy listening" and "pop".
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
-- No, that's not my mantra, but maybe it should be. I could use a little divine help right now. Does Jesus support weight watchers?
I was so proud of myself for going from 305 down to 180... but alas, success if fleeting. Since the wedding last year, I have steadily gained weight. Stress has been a big factor, especially with school. I have been doing my best to start working out, but I'm not making out so well.
My biggest problem is dealing with eating junk food. I don't know how I did it in the first place.. giving up all the good stuff and living on fruits and veggies day in and day out. There are only so many apples, grapes and bananas one can eat before he says "f*** it!", and has a chocolate bar. I became so used to grabbing comfort food, that now I have to kick the addiction. Let's face it.. good food can be like crack. You keep wanting more.. you crave it.. it calls to you in the night. GIMME JUST ONE MORE POTATO CHIP MAN!! JUST ONE MORE!!
I was doing so well today with staying on task and eating right. I went out with my friend Paul, and we stopped at Starbucks and I managed to pass up the numerous pastries that were for sale, and had a cup of green tea. I got home and didn't do so well. A few cookies and slices of pizza later... yes.. I said pizza.... I was watching tv with a satisfied appetite and a pissed off mind set. I burned off some steam on the elliptical for about 25 minutes, but I'm still pissed at this loss of control.
I have to work on this will power thing some more. Damn you Betty Crocker and Little Debby... just leave me alone!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
After Bryan left to return to Ohio, it was time to go to my brother and sister in law's house for a father's day cook out. Joe's in-laws are wonderful people, and fortunately, our families clicked right from the start. The food was great, and we had a blast laughing, joking, and playing "Can-Jam" in the backyard.
My sister Kristy has yet another boyfriend, who met some of the rest of our family today at the cookout. Yes, Kristy goes through boyfriends more than Liz Taylor went through husbands. This new guy is 22 and in the Air Force reserves. He has been to Iraq about three times now while in the army before joining up with the Air Force. Yes, my sister loves a man in uniform as much as I... only she can actually get one.
I kept staring at Sean (her new bf) when he first arrived. I finally had to apologize, but he looks eerily similar to my ex boyfriend, Jeff. In fact, I asked if he was related. He could have passed for his younger brother. Their hair is different, as well as the build, but it was like looking into Jeff's face at every glance. It's quite awkward for me actually. Knowing Kristy, I won't have to look his way too often before she is on to the next man in line.
Anyway, it's been quite an enjoyable and eventful weekend. Always nice to be able to get out of the house and have a good time with family and friends.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Part of the attraction of going to the gay bars besides the possibility of meeting someone worthwhile is the people watching. There is nothing more fun than watching people at a bar.. especially a gay bar. You just never know what you will see. Last night, there were two older women, whom I was referring to as secretary social lites (heavier older women who looked like they were on an extended happy hour right after work), who were bumpin' and grindin' against this younger.. and ripped.. gay guy. I'm guessing he must have been a friend of theirs, or possible co-worker. It was hilarious to watch!! The big ladies were getting in touch with their inner groove thang, and while there was obviously no chance of them hooking up with the young hottie, they were enjoying the fantasy of it all.
An acquaintance of mine... drunk off his ass... came over to me while he was waiting for his boyfriend (an old friend of mine) to show up. For some reason, when certain gay men are drunk, they like to start critiquing people's outfits.... meaning they go up to a person and tell them how they should dress. I hate this. You don't have to like a person's style, you can even laugh about it to yourself or to your friends if you find it that amusing, but DON'T start telling other people what to wear and how to dress.... especially when you look like a drunken mess yourself. While he liked my signature fedora (I'm just one of those people who ALWAYS tends to wear a hat when outside.. and as I've said, I personally don't do baseball caps), he felt I would look better without a hat on (though he was sporting an ugly lime green cap himself). So... he proceeded to remove my hat. Had I not known him already, that would have been cause for a brawl. Don't touch me.. or my hat! Then... he tried to remove my glasses... saying I'd look better without them. I personally prefer guys with glasses... it gives them the cute educated and sophisticated look I go nuts for. What was funny about the glasses thing was that Kevin had to go right up to guys faces to see who they were. He too wears glasses but won't wear them to the bars, and can't afford contacts. So he walks around like Mr. Magoo for the sake of "fashion". Bitch, please.
I don't get it. I sent drunken Joan Rivers on his way, and continued to enjoy my time with Justin and the other people at the bar. Good times.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
With temps reaching well into the 80s and even 90s, I have been more than grateful for the central air we have in our home. The rest of the world around me has not been so comfortable and climate controlled.
The a/c on my car went on the fritz this summer. Seeing as it is an '02, it's not really a surprise that it needed to be recharged. I have been putting it off to try and save money, but after this weekend, enough was enough. Driving home from the parade on Sunday was like driving through the Sahara. Even with the windows down, all it does it blow hot air throughout the car. Fat white boy and heat do not mix. Besides, I hate being a puddle when I arrive at places after being in the car for more than five minutes.
I tried to take the cheap route, and bought a can of refrigerant (or whatever it's called), and had a friend from work put it in my car's system. Cost me $30. I thought I was saving some money... WRONG. I was only getting cold air out the one side of the car, and today, I didn't even have that. I finally broke down and took Virgil (my car) over to Midas for the "Midas touch". $140 later... all is well.
Walmart too has been a sweat shop to work in.. literally. Half the air conditioners in the store do not work, and customers are complaining as much as the employees. My department is by far the worst. Out air conditioner has been broken for about two years, and with the machines we have, the temp in the lab is a noticeable 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the store. Even with two large fans, workers just melt after being there for a few minutes.
Unfortunately, the company has no intention of fixing this problem any time soon. They claim our store will be going Super Center by next year, and "they" do not want to invest the money in a seasonal repair. Keep in mind, I have been hearing "we're going Super Center next year" for the past 7 years. It has yet to happen. As I stand there drenched in my own sweat, I can't help but be more than a little pessimistic about it becoming reality this year.
Who's up for ice cream?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
I love to go and see all the families that attend... the small children with their two mommies or two daddies. In fact, there was a float of children of gay parents, which made me so happy to see. What pissed me off was that the group of children was right behind the group of leather men in chains and handcuffs. So not appropriate for children. In fact, I wish the pride movement would move away from the SEX aspect, and focus on our human rights and the love that we share for one another, as is the case with any heterosexual relationship. It should have nothing to do with what you do in the bedroom. *Gets off soap box*
It was so nice to see so many people out at Bidwell park. I saw quite a few friends and acquaintances that I hadn't seen in ages. I never know who I am going to run into at that event.
Later that night, I met Nick and Jason out at Fugazi (and later Cathode) for a drink. We had such a good time, and met up with our friend Josh and his boyfriend Jeremy. They make such a cute couple. We had a blast talking and laughing over drinks.
My friend Tom stumbled in a little later in the evening... drunk off his ass. He was SO out of it... it was quite comical. I guess he had been out since before the parade started (he was in the parade), and he had been at the beer tent and then the bars all evening. At one point, he even walked into a wall. I'm still laughing over the sight of that one!
It was a fun day. :)
Friday, June 6, 2008
I have such great memories of growing up at St. Joseph's, especially in the school. I attended St. Joe's school from Kindergarten through 5th grade, then moving to Ascension campus (the Catholics schools in North Tonawanda consolidated in 1990) for 6th through 8th. I had some wonderful teachers at St. Joseph's, most notably the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, who were (and are) wonderful women, some of whom I am still in contact with today. The teachers we had at St. Joe's were mostly older teachers who had been working at St. Joe's for a good number of years, and were not in the field for the money, but for the love of children, and the love of teaching. Many of these teachers retired after the schools merged in 1990 or soon after, and I was one of a fortunate few to come under their tutelage before their retirement.
It was because of teachers and the good sisters that I knew growing up that I think I was inspired to be a teacher. I want to make a difference in children's lives like they did with mine. I know from experience how much of an impact a good teacher or a bad teacher can make in one's life, and I hope to be making a positive difference for many students.
Today St. Joe's was having a sale at the school to get rid of the old desks and cabinets that had been part of the classrooms since it opened in 1947. I almost bought one of the student desks since there was a good chance I had sat in them as a student. Mostly, I just wanted to go and walk around the school one last time. So many wonderful memories came flooding back, of going to school, and later being a teacher in those classrooms as I taught Religious Ed. there for five years. Even now, when I dream of having my own classroom in my professional career, I still think of myself in front of a class in one of those classrooms at St. Joe's.
Not all change is a good thing, and sometimes it can be hard to take. It hasn't been easy for me, or for many of the parishioners of St. Joseph's to say goodbye to a place they have called home, and have worshiped in for so many years. Like I have done already, the people at St. Joe's will find new homes of worship, but it's still hard to say goodbye to a place that has been such a refuge for so many years. "For everything there is a season..."
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is the current name for disorders once known individually as striatonigral degeneration, sporadic olivopontocerebellar atrophy, and the Shy-Drager syndrome. MSA is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by symptoms of autonomic nervous system failure (such as lightheadedness or fainting spells, constipation, erectile failure in men, and urinary retention) combined with tremor and rigidity, slurred speech, or loss of muscle coordination. MSA affects both men and women, primarily in their 50s. It can progress swiftly or slowly, but people with MSA generally survive for 9 years after the appearance of symptoms. There is no remission from the disease. (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/msa/msa.htm)
Since this disease effects the brain directly, a combination of the disease as well as the mass amounts of daily medication she is on has caused her to suffer from sever hallucinations, which she has come to accept as reality. She gets little continual sleep, and is in constant pain. Image what it is like when you have a sever stiff neck. Your muscles are in constant pain and feel rock hard to the touch. This is how she is all over her body.
Her speech is now very slurred, and it is difficult to understand her. Much of the time when she speaks, it is to discuss the hallucinations which she feels are very real... a very real danger that now haunts her daily life.
When she is able to get around, she does so in a wheel chair or motorized scooter. She has a catheter, which she will have for the rest of her life. The doctor told us she probably won't see another 12 months, but only God knows for sure.
Please keep her and my family, especially my Mother, in your thoughts and prayers. While I am really just an observer in all this, it makes me truly thankful for the health and graces I have been given in my life.
Monday, June 2, 2008
The home is an old brick house that was at some time converted into a two family home. The apartments are not that bad space wise, though the arrangement of the downstairs apartment is rather awkward. Jason is a very hard working individual and will soon have that house transformed into a home.
Though I don't envy the mortgage payments and work that he will have to put into the house, I do envy the fact he has made it out onto his own. Despite the fact that I kept imagining all the improvements he'd have to make soon, I kept imagining also all the gatherings of friends he can have there, and the peace of quiet he will have with his OWN residence. In addition, he has much more space than he did before, and much more than I have now. That's always a great feeling to have a place to call your own... your escape from the world and your own oasis. Despite the hard work that lies ahead for him, he will have the independence that so many of us crave... and that is a luxury he has worked very hard for!
I wish him all the best and look forward to going to HIS house for a visit. Someday, hopefully in the not so distant future, I will also be able to have friends and family to MY home.
Here's to ya, Jason... welcome home!