Friday, February 25, 2011

Movies, Books, Fr. Tim and Zombies

I love movies. No really. I love watching them. Some of my favorites I've watched what seems like a gazillion times. I love quoting movies, referencing movies, you name it. One reason (one of like a bazillion) I fell in love with George was that when we started out friends, we both liked an obscure 80's teen movie that I could watch with no volume and do the entire dialog (Some Kind of Wonderful). Over the years, I found that there is a movie quote to fit just about everything I'm feeling at any given time (to the kids "you're killing me, Smalls!" from The Sandlot to various ones that George and I just love or found hysterical "I'll see you when I see you or I'll see you another time" from I Love You, Man.) There's quotes for breakfast (usually said after breakfast but technically works after any meal.."I could of had churriso and eggs!" from Midnight Run hysterical movie).

To no surprise, our kids love movies too. In fact, years ago, we created the movie game we play at dinner. One person will come up with a movie quote and whoever knows it raises their hand. Quote person calls on someone and whomever gets it goes next. This results in either a)bouts of laughter (most of the time) or b) irritation and yelling b/c insert name of kid here is never calling on me only insert name of other kid and my hand was up first (sometimes). On the whole though we have fun.

There are quotes that hit close to home that remind me of me. My CRHP sisters will tell you...."If you only knew how much I want to say but don't! Give me some credit will you!" Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.

Sometimes, well, lots of times, I do movie quotes in my head. I was at work the other day and someone said 'garnish' and in my head I said "That caviar is a garnish!" from You've Got Mail. I cracked myself up. I learned a long time ago that not everyone gets my humor. They can appreciate it sure, but not always get it.

I remember growing up watching movies and the feelings that were tied to them. We watched the Sound of Music every year around Thanksgiving. Why does Rolf turn out to be a tool? Sheesh! I remember watching The Great Santini. We couldn't watch that movie very often it was pointed out that The Great Santini was a mirror image of my father. Meh. Depends on the day or his mood. While he wasn't always the greatest or Ward Clever, he wasn't exactly Bride of Chucky either. I learned very quickly that I don't like scary movies. Suspensfull, yes. Scary, no. I loved romantic movies, comedy's, drama. They were an escape for me from the perils and pitfalls of being an awkward child/teenager looking for acceptance.

As I grew up, I fell out of movies somewhat and more into books. Historical romance books to be more specific. Most anything by Julie Garwood or Jude Deveraux. I love how they were usually set in Ireland. How the hero didn't look like a perfect Norse God. No, he usually had some sort of scar on his face that rendered him unattractive. The women are always strong, but don't realize how strong they are at first. These books became great escapes for me. Then, I came to St. Jude's Catholic Church. The more I learned about my faith and myself, those romance books gave way (not entirely) to books about my faith and Catholic studies to deepen my understanding of who I am, why I'm really here, and what is expected and asked of me. Some days this brings me much joy. Other days, not so much.

I've taken to reading (what is now one of my very favorite blogs) from Fr. Tim, my beloved Priest They make sense to me and I enjoy them. Except when I notice myself in them in not a good light. I mean, who wants to look in the mirror and see a zombie looking back at them? Today was such a day. In the blog he writes "Unity is not an achievement that, once accomplished, it decorates the trophy case. It is a choice made every day. “I choose to love you with the differences that we embrace as opportunities to love.”" How do I do that? There are people I see that I don't like. At all. That as my Mema would say are full of piss and vinegar. I work with such a person. Seriously?! Seriously?! In order to further God's plan, I have to love this person or embrace her as an opportunity to love? What the flagnogg (from Monsters vs. Aliens!)

But then, as I ponder those words, I thought Does God realize what He's asking me to do? Does He see the unfairness of the situation! Then Bob (for you new readers, Bob is the Holy Spirit. He and I are on a first name basis). Gently reminds me how God sent His son down here. How Jesus was not exactly well loved by everyone. How when He did nothing wrong, His death was called for over that of a known murderer. Yet Jesus loved everyone, even through the unfairness of it all.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying I am like Jesus. Not even close. I am a sinner, He was not. But what I think is cool here is that God and Jesus both knew what was going to happen. That they saw the unfairness of it all. That they had to deal with hate. Yet, Jesus chose to love everyone. How could I not at least try to do something that God is asking me. And, it's not like He's asking just me to do it. No, He's asking each and every one of us. So, that really isn't unfair then, is it? Sure, I have to go to work in a situation everyday that is totally unfair. But I am called to love this person. So, I've decided there are different levels of love. I can love her b/c she is a child of God. Hey, it's a place to start, right?

And, sure, it would be easy to say I've "suffered enough for the heaven of heavens" from the Song of Bernadette. But who hasn't? None of us have had perfect lives. No, that perfection will come in the next life. Sure, I can dwell on how bad things get, or I can look in the mirror and when I see the zombie staring back at me, I can choose to change the zombie back into the child that God created. After all, aren't we all a work in progress?

Until next time,
I wish you some zombie moments for that is when we begin to change.


Monday, February 21, 2011

What a weekend

So, I just spent the weekend with eighty 13/14 year old girls. And, I lived to tell about it!

God is amazing! There is no other way to say it. These girls, some my girls (either my child or in my class) are just amazing. We arrive there late at night on Friday, about 10pm. The other chaperons and I are exhausted. The girls are tired. We get into our cabins and get ready for bed (after the introductions and welcome by the amazing Pines staff). There's two chaperons and 20 girls to a cabin. One would think that they would be so exhausted that they'd go right to sleep. One word be wrong. Oh so very wrong. lol The lights finally went out around 20 after twelve in the morning and by twelve thirty all were asleep.

I'm not the best sleeper, my loving husband will tell you this. I get a few hours a night. I wake up constantly to go to the bathroom. And, mind you it's not a quick in and out type thing. The business I have to attend to is a relatively quick memo, not a long report. However, when I am done with the memo, I go to wash my hands. This is where my OCD kicks in. I wash my hands. Dry them off, and on the way out of the bathroom, realize I forgot a line in the memo and write it. Then wash my hands again. This process happens about three times. Then, if I'm washing my hands (always with soap) and my fingers hit the back of the sink under the faucet, I have to wash them again. At times, this routine can be very frustrating. This weekend, I woke up at two to write the memo. They have automatic paper towel dispensers that make me feel like a Jedi. However, at two in the morning, no amount of waving your hand in front of the sensor works b/c it's almost completely dark. Luckily, I found some paper towels on the sink. Then, Saturday night, I got wise and took the flashlight with me and shone it on the dispenser and Jedied the dispenser once more :D I washed my hands about a thousand times this weekend. What made the ocd worse is that it was well water. Why was this a problem? B/c it feels like the soap is never off your hands! lol

My favorite part of the weekend (there are so many! Confession, adoration, the Eucharist) was this hill. For those of you on the weekend who are reading this, you probably thing I am now certifiably insane. I complained the ENTIRE weekend about this hill and now I'm telling you it's my favorite part. My Carol will tell you how much I hate walking with God. It's HARD! My idea of roughing it/camping is a hotel with warm towels, heated pool, and room service. Walking with God is not like that. It's beautiful, but hard. Much like labor. It hurts like crazy but then joy follows. But, I digress. There was this hill. It was steep. It felt like I had to walk that hill every five minutes (not actually, but in Gina time that's what it felt like). Halfway up the hill (mind you it was steep but not a big hill) my knee would start to really hurt. And, as I walked the hill with the chaperons I would say things like "my butt better be smaller by the time I leave here!" or "every time I go up this hill I better be losing a dress size!" I also told the girls I only run when being chased. And, when lagging behind, I said "I only have to be the second slowest, not the slowest." At one point up the hill late Saturday afternoon, I turned my backside towards a friend of mine and asked her if it was getting any smaller. No such luck. lol The point here is not that I complained. Which I did. In spades. But that I did it. I hated this hill. I hated it with all that I have in me, yet I walked it. I needed to climb it to get where I needed to go. That's like walking with God. Sure, it's hard, but as I've said before, the company is awesome. He get's me where I'm suppose to go.

Saturday night was rough and I texted my Patti goodnight (as she was on the trip as well but in a different cabin). In saying our goodnights,I shared with her some things and she told me to talk to Mary about it. That Mary would take care of me. That night, I poured my heart out to Mary. I silently cried to her and I fell asleep talking to her. Although I still got up once to go to the bathroom, it was the best sleep that I had had in weeks. Mary covered me with her love and held me in her Mantle.

God showed me a lot about myself this weekend. Not that I'm a complainer. I already knew that. But, he showed me true friendship and pure love. He showed me His grace and His mercy. He showed me beauty. In no short supply, He showed me Himself. He is constantly reaching out to me. I just have to take His hand. God is good all the time.

Until next time,
I wish you many steep hills with God. They are amazing. Feel free to complain.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

count on me

Heard this today and it reminded me of all of you! 

Hit play.  Sit back.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I love to dance.

No.  Seriously.  I love to dance.  I was born to be a backup singer/dancer.  I don't know when it started.  I don't think it was when I was really little.  But, at some point it happened.  I remember practicing in my room right before prom.  I remember dancing around my room.  I remember as a teen dancing downstairs in my grandparents house to Starship.  Dancing has become a part of my everyday life.

I've even gone so far as to choreograph routines for the kids and sometimes the kids and I.  There was one time in 2003.  George had moved to Kansas for a job and we were still back in beautiful Charleston (Summerville, actually), SC.  On one of his weekends home, the kids did a dance routine to welcome him.  Then, there was this one time, the girls and I danced to Shake Your Rump when they were like 7 and 8 and Jaime did the singing (or lip syncing actually).

On any random day of the week, you will find me in the kitchen cooking.  And, while the cooking is happening, so is the dancing.  It's nothing to grab the nearest kid and dance with them around the island.  It's too the point now, that sometimes, my kids will grab me and just start dancing with me in the kitchen.  We swing, we salsa, we waltz.  We just dance however the spirit moves us.  We dance to the Mills Brothers (shout out to my Amy, my Mills Brothers buddy)  I just LOVE them!  We dance to the Platters, Glenn Miller, Lady Gaga.  We dance to country, pop, rock, classical.  We dance to whatever is playing on my iphone (all the above are on it lol).  Occasionally, George will grab me in the kitchen and dance with me.  That's my very fav!  He and I even took dance lessons.  Ballroom style.  It was awesome.  Arthur Murray, six easy lessons.  But then it started to get expensive

My best friend Tina and I use to go out salsa dancing once or twice a month.  We loved it.  But of all the dancing I've done, my very favorite has to be with my Mema.  We would always dance.  We polka (shout of to Amy my polka buddy same Amy as my Mills Brothers buddy), we'd waltz.  We would always, always argue who would lead. lol  She always won.  We even danced at my wedding.  I've got a picture somewhere to prove it! lol

When I was little, I learned the best place to be was at Mema's.  Sure, I loved my Grandpa immensely, but it was always Mema's house.  She taught me how to sew and how to bake.  She listened to Croatian music every Sunday.  She was always happy.  Then, after Grandpa died, something really neat happened.  She became her own person.  If she was happy before, now she was ecstatic.  She played dice (she loved her dice) she sang.  She worked.  She made her own Halloween costumes and won first prize something like 5 times in a row!  She was so cool.  She wasn't a rocking chair Grandma that's for sure.  Did I tell you she taught me how to type?  I was five.  I had my own typewriter (one my Grandpa fixed up).  She taught me. In high school I took the typing class b/c it was an easy A.  I was BORED!  I could type "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" quick as a whip and here I was doing 'aaa, ccc, aaa, ccc'  Monotony I tell you!   From the time I began to type I wanted to be a secretary.  And, I succeeded.  Did you guys know that?  I use to be a secretary.  Oh, I was a secretary for a while.  And, most of the time I loved it.  But, I digress, I was telling you how awesome Mema is.

Last year, I attended the Monserrat Retreat.  I go every year.  Last year, Mema's health was declining and I knew it wouldn't be long.  On my weekend, I wrote her a goodbye letter.  A letter full of love and appreciation for who she is.  My mom wanted me to send it to her so she could read it to her.  At the time, I thought it too personal for my mom to read.  Then, after she passed, I ended up reading it to my mom.  She replied how much Mema would've loved it.  I like to think that Mema heard every word.

Today, I am sick.  Today, also, is Mema's birthday.  She'd be 93.  I can't dance with her anymore.  And to tell you the truth, it kills me.  I can't call her and tease her.  I once had her believing that the song Deep Purple was about sex lol.  I can't make her laugh.  I miss her telling me to 'go pound sand!'  I miss her laughter.  I miss her telling me she loved me.  The weird thing is, she's right here with me.  I have her everywhere.  I have her pictures.  I have hers (and Grandpa's) rosary's.  I have her robe.  I have her blanket.  I have her watches and earrings.  I have tons of the materials that belonged to her, but I cannot dance with her.  No, today, her dancing is with Grandpa.

My heart is broken into a thousand pieces and it feels like she's died all over again.

So, as my life goes on and shattered pieces remain, the dancing will slowly continue.  And, until I can dance with her again, I will dance with Jesus.

Until Next Time,
Happy Early Valentine's Day.