Monday, September 22, 2014

Poetry fluff

At my core, I'm a gooey, saccharine, hopeless romantic--I often try to hide it, though (and I'm probably not very good at it--I'm a terrible liar). I am attracted to guys who are rational, linear, analytic thinkers, and, at least in my experience, being a hopeless romantic tends to turn that kind of guy off.  I'm not sure if it is because they perceive romance and sentiment as neediness or if they just see it as unnecessary, but it usually means that I dial my romantic side back when I'm in a relationship.  I'm not ashamed of the fact that there is still a little girl inside of me that wants to be a princess swept off of her feet by a knight in shining armor. I've just grown realistic enough to know that most knights have tarnished and dented armor.  Besides, I am not the kind of girl that needs saving.  As much as I like the idea of a knight in shining armor, I think my parents instilled their daughter with just a little too much of their mid-western independence and ingenuity for me to be a passive princess, and my temperament is just a little too feisty to be resignedly patient.

This is one of the windows on the same floor as my office. Kind of looks like something you might see in a fairy-tale castle, doesn't it?

That being said, the sentiment of the following song appeals to my romantic side, and it captures the wistful hope that many single women have, just as it points to what it means to being open to whatever God has for us.

The longer I'm single, the more I suspect that I will remain so, and I'm good with that--life might not be how I envisioned it when I was in high school and college, but I have a blessed life: A wonderful job, an awesome parish, affectionate fur babies (err, pets), and tons of nieces and nephews to spoil.  It doesn't keep me from dreaming sometimes, though.  And, that is where this particular poem came from.  It is corny, but like the above song, shows a wistful hope for what may or may not happen.

The Dreams of this Hopeless Romantic

To be kissed senseless while held in a dip
To receive flowers for no reason at all
To be serenaded on some moonlit night
These are the dreams of this hopeless romantic

To be asked to pray at the end of each date
To be surprised with an impromptu lunch
To take classes together for ballroom dance
These are the dreams of this hopeless romantic

That he'll hold my hand during everyday moments
That he'll read me poetry for bedtime stories
That he'll cherish me all of our days
These are the dreams of this hopeless romantic

That he'll communicate with just a look
That he'll be deliberately pursue our courtship
That he'll place Christ at the center
These are the dreams of this hopeless romantic

That I'll want to bear his children
That I can help him get to heaven
That I will love him all my days
These are the prayers of this hopeless romantic


When I was younger, I would often separate out my gooey romanticism from my practicality--the older I get, the more I wonder if there is a way to reconcile these two disparate parts of my personality.  Is there such a thing as a practical romantic? If so, that is what I'd like to become.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saying Goodbye to the Philosopher

I think that I have made a personal record...After 3 months of dating, my relationship with the philosopher has ended.  This is actually the shortest that I have ever dated anyone, with 6 months being the shortest before this.  I think that the amazing thing is that I'm largely ok with this development, in part because I had an inkling that this might happen a couple of weeks ago, and in part because the Lord has given me a lot of peace leading up to this.  I'm still processing it, but I'm at a really good place in my life--I have a job that I love, a parish that is downright awesome, and a new town to learn about and explore.

One of the flowers blooming around campus at my new job.  I look forward to the fall colors.  I also look forward to the spring when more plants will be blooming!

God used the Philosopher to get me out of my comfort zone back home and bring me to here to a better job and and an awesome parish.  I can only be thankful for that.  I don't regret the move, and honestly, I don't regret my behavior during our relationship.  I conducted myself to the best of my ability in a Godly fashion, not without struggle, but with integrity.  I hope that he can say the same.

So, my job for the next few months will be putting down roots where I am, and following where ever the Lord may lead...Right before I came here, I started a new journal, and decided that I needed to make my theme to be "Putting down roots."  I actually had the perfect journal to use for that theme, as well.
My current Journal.
I had already started doing so before the break-up, but now it starts in earnest.  I now have an hour scheduled for weekly Adoration at my parish, and will begin teaching CCD classes this coming Wednesday...I'm co-teaching the 6th grade boys, so please pray for me!!!  I hope to go dancing tonight at the local country-western hot-spot, and am finding my way around pretty well.  I also plan to go for a bike ride just for the fun of it this afternoon--something I haven't done since I was a kid exploring my neighborhood!  Just as I did before I started dating, I plan to enjoy being single--spend time with friends, exercise, work, and grow.  Yes, it can be lonely, but I'm learning that, when you take it to Christ, that loneliness becomes solitude--it is all a matter of perspective.  

This is my favorite Superbowl commercial ever--it seems to best illustrate the following poem!

Tilting at Windmills

Loss of sleep feeds my melancholy
A voracious monster who
Sucks at my marrow with abandon

The unknown will be known
And he is poised for another feast
His utensils gleam, napkin beneath the chin

This outcome might bring sorrow
A slow drip of nectar or a 
Great 10 course dinner--I know not which

One thing is certain: Melancholy's glut
Will be his downfall.
Like an illusion, he transforms

Prayer and gratitude diminish him
And the monster morphs--
Shadows dissipated, he is a pesky mosquito
Defeated with a timely swat.

(sorry this isn't a sonnet--hopefully next week!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Settling in

So, I have now been in Central TX for a little over 2 weeks, and I'm finally getting settled into the area, although I still use my GPS whenever I want to find something.  Even so, I have found the nearest (nice) laundromat, the nearest Starbucks, how to get to work and home, and the nearest grocery store.  I've also found a really good home parish.  This is their website, and I'm really enjoying the worship, the community, and look forward to getting more involved.  In fact, I have committed to teaching CCD for the 6th grade boys class, so I'm going to need some extra prayers!  It doesn't start for another week and a half, so I will be able to spend some time getting prepared. :-D

The truck as it was originally packed for our trip here. we had to re-do the tarp at the Sunland park exit since it kept coming off.
I'm also in the process of working on my classes: I have seven this semester, so I will be incredibly busy during the week.  I should actually be working on my Argumentation and Debate class right about now, but I'm being a bit of a bum at the moment.  At this point, it is late enough that it will have to wait until tomorrow evening or during my office hours.  I will also be going to the bank and the post office during lunch.  I don't get to start riding my bike regularly to work until Wednesday, it looks like.  I can live with that, but I really want to get into and stay in the habit.

This is the truck after the redo.  It still billowed, but not as bad.  We made it all the way to Ft. Stockton, although the tarp was in tatters.  We had to buy a new one the next day.

I'm not sure what the digdog thinks about all this, although she is much less skittish than she was when we first started packing and then unpacking...she isn't sticking to my side like a limpet anymore, but she still prefers to stay pretty close.  I think that she is worried that I'm going to go away again like I did when I went to Spain.  At the same time, she is really liking the new yard, and she and my niece's dog have been having fun running around in it.  My favorite part about our yard is that there are 2 trees close enough that I will be able to hang a hammock from them come next spring.  I suspect that it will become one of my favorite places to read, assuming that the mosquitoes aren't terrible.  I may need to take out stock in Citronella candles...

The local running store.  I haven't gone there yet when they are open, but I'm hoping that I can find a running group through them.  
 One of the nicest parts about my new job is that I have an office all to myself--no more cubicle-like desk space.  Because of that, I've gone a little overboard in decorating it.  I have even bought a plant, in spite of the fact that I have the black thumb of death.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can actually keep it alive for the duration.  From what I've read online and from my friends, it is actually a low-maintenance plant.

My office.  I even bought curtains!

My plant.  The mini-posters behind it are from Zen Pencils, and are all quotes by Emerson.
And, today, I unpacked my last box.  I'm officially all settled in, and I'm really thankful for that.  That means that I actually have a place to work from home, as well as that it is restful enough that I will actually be able to focus.  While I was a slob about keeping my room clean growing up, I've found that having a tidy space to work actually helps to keep a person focused.  I still need to do something about an office chair, since my ball doesn't seem to be keeping it's air.  I'm using our one folding chair at the moment, but it isn't very comfortable.  Since I've had my exercise ball for 4 years, it is probably time and past time to replace it.

My wall.  These are dance cards from the late 20's from various high school and college dances, a hat from the 30's-40's, and a fan from the same era.  

My bed.  Fat Cat likes having a clean room, too!

I still have a blank wall in my room, but I'm not sure what to put on that particular wall yet.  I'm hoping that I can find a nice print of art at some point in the near future.  Some of my wall hangings were put in my office, and there were a couple that I had to get rid of because they got damaged in the move.  It is kind of nice, though, as it means I can add to my repertoire of pictures.  I may see if I can find a nice Picasso print, since he is probably one of my favorite artists. 

But the thing is that this city and our apartment is becoming home.  I miss my family, but this was a good move for me, and I look forward to putting down roots.  Next thing you know it, I'm going to start sounding like a Texan with a drawl and everything!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Big Announcement...

So, I found out earlier this week that I'm going to be moving to Central TX for a new job, and I start on the 20th of this month.  So, I've been really busy with packing and taking care of last minute details, such as finding a place to live and a way to move our stuff. Things are coming together so that my niece can move with me, since she really wants to go to the junior college that I'm going to be working at--they have a veterinary tech. program, and the town has a university that has a veterinary program, so it will be a good move for both of us.  

This is a picture of the outside of the apartment we are trying to rent.  It has a yard for the digdogs, washer and dryer hookups, and a DISHWASHER!!!
As for what the job is, I will be teaching Communication Studies/Speech at the oldest Junior College in TX!  It looks like my schedule for the fall will be 5 sections of public speaking, and one section of Argumentation and Debate.  I've never taught the latter before, so I'm going to be busy keeping ahead of my students this semester.  Even so, I'm really excited, as teaching full-time is my dream job, and I have been jonesing for a chance to teach at the college level again.  

It also has the benefit of being about 3 hours away from where the Philosopher lives, so we will be able to see each other more often.  All things being equal, I would love it if we can see each other on a weekly basis, but realize that every other week is probably more realistic.  It is also only about 6 hours from my sister Sarah, so I'm going to get to see her more often as well.  She doesn't know it yet, but I'm probably going to crash her Thanksgiving dinner, as long as she will let me (although I don't know if it is really crashing if you ask permission!).  

The Philosopher sent these to me as a congratulations on the new job.  As far as I can remember, this is the first time anyone has ever sent me flowers.  I'm so blessed with him!
Because I'm moving, I'm probably not going to be writing very much in the next week or two, but will try to begin posting 3x per week once I'm settled so that all of you can keep up with what is going on in my life. All I know is that I'm really excited to be starting the next chapter in my life, and look forward to sharing the journey with all of you!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

No Sonnet today, but...

So, I've dropped the ball this week and didn't write a sonnet.  However, I did write some other poetry, so I will share one with you in lieu of the sonnet for Sonnet Saturday.

I might have some big news in the near future, so I'm kind of waiting until I get confirmation before writing a regular blog post. :-)

The Blank Page

It has possibilities
And curiosity wells
Within me, for it never
Ends as I begin.

Emotions peter out with
Writing, replaced by gentler
Iterations: clarified
Like heat works butter

A catalyst, self-renewed
With a flip or a scribble,
So long as the notebook remains:
She calls me, "Create!"

Such siren songs require my
Undivided attention
And compels me with love's strength--
A dreamer's playground.

Transformed and Transforming, I
seek what is no more, what was.
Possible, now verity
Not blank--Works of art!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sonnet Saturday (#3)-- Forgiveness

So, because of travelling for work and just life in general, I didn't write a sonnet for last week, but I did for this week, so here it is.  Once I have the Elizabethan Sonnet down, I think I want to try some of the other sonnet forms.  One step at a time, though!

Forgiveness (Sonnet #3)

Egg shells, apple cores, coffee grinds, and more
In a heap, smelling vaguely like old socks.
Time to turn this pile gardeners adore:
Discards and trash morphed into seeds' toy box.

Not everything belongs in this treasure.
No matter the size, rocks will not crumble
Through heat, bacteria, and time's measure:
Nature's intransigence makes one humble.

They go elsewhere to confine, to create--
A seat, a bridge, or simple stepping stone.
They may not foster growth, but fascinate
The eye, the heart, the vista when not thrown.

Like compost, we forgive to readjust
And nourish the soil that grows mutual trust.

We had bins like this for compost near the greenhouses for my Horticulture class in High School. Too bad I have a black thumb of death!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spending time with the Philosopher

So, the Philosopher came to visit for the weekend the Thursday before last, and I had a really good time...So good that I'm going to visit him in a few weeks for the weekend. We've been e-mailing and Skyping pretty regularly since we first started talking, and there is a lot of joy in getting to know another person.

I stole this from the Philosopher's Facebook page. I really like this picture of him!

So, after 5 weeks (to the day), of talking via Skype and text and e-mail, he flew in.  I made him dinner (chicken curry over spaghetti squash--a really good recipe!!!), and we watched Blazing Saddles.  My niece joined us for both, and it was really nice.  Then, we went for a walk.  Poor Ginger took a while to warm up to him, but she did finally quit barking at him, even if she wasn't sure what to make of this person in her house.

Friday didn't go quite like I planned, as I started the day by locking my keys in my house...Thankfully, my niece had gone to the gym that morning, so I was able to get back in without making her late for work, but it was kind of embarrassing to have to text the Philosopher that I would be later than planned because I did something that boneheaded.

We spent the morning at White Sands.
It was a perfect day to be at White Sands...not too hot, and partially cloudy most of the morning. 
The clouds look a little bit like cotton candy.

My favorite picture of him from the weekend.

Attempting to surf the sand dunes. I got a few good runs: the Philosopher, not so much.

Falling off the sled.

Finally to the bottom of the hill!

Then, we had a picnic in Alamogordo at one of the city parks there.  It was fun to sit and talk and learn more about one another.  
Next, a trip to Coas--no trip to this part of the country is complete if one is a bibliophile!  Then, back home in order to get ready for the evening: Dinner theater!

This was the play we saw: I liked it, anyway.
I specifically asked the Philosopher to dress nice for the dinner theater, and he obliged. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the both of us together.  I did have my niece take my picture, though.

All dressed up and ready to go!

I probably should have taken off my fitbit, though...
Then, a quick trip up Scenic Drive to the lookout near the top of the mountain.  I was surprised at how busy it was--there was no parking, and a couple of food trucks at the lookout, but the view was gorgeous.

Saturday, we went to Adoration at the Monastery downtown, but, unbeknownst to me, there was a group meeting there for communal prayer at the same time we were there.  I was expecting the usual quiet time with God, and instead we sort of participated in an all Spanish prayer group for most of our time.  I believe Robbie Burns says it best:
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,  
In proving foresight may be vain;  
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men  
Gang aft agley, (from

And, our plans went "agley" quite a bit on Saturday, for the afternoon was supposed to be for going on the tram, and it was shut down due to lightning.  Then, we were rained in for close to an hour as a gully washer rolled through town and shut off electricity at my house until almost 11pm that night.  

At least the rain was over by the time for the baseball game, and we were able to eat at L&J's for dinner.
My dinner: Chicken Enchiladas with a side of Guacamole.

Enjoying dinner. 

Mom and Dad were sitting right in front of us.  It was nice to enjoy the game together.
Sunday comprised of Mass, eating lunch with my sister, an then going to Chili's to enjoy the final for the World Cup before the Philosopher had to fly home.  I'm glad he came and I look forward to seeing him again.

Since then, we have continued to Skype and talk, and that has been good, although I'm finding that the perpetually turned on world that we live in is quite the temptation.  The Philosopher works from home, so I'm sure that I'm a bit of a distraction at times with the occasional text or message via Facebook--I'm trying to be circumspect about how often I say hi when I see him online, but I'm not sure that I'm succeeding. I'm also coming to realize that working from home can be both a blessing and a curse--it gives insane amounts of flexibility, but it also means that work and leisure can easily bleed over into one another, for there are no clear contextual clues to mark the end of the work-day. I suspect that is why the Philosopher will usually go to the local coffee shop to work rather than do so from home. Of course, that was also true when I taught, since grading takes over your life at certain times of the semester.  

And, I count the days until I will hop a plane to go see him in his natural habitat.  I had a lot of fun planning our time while he was here, and look forward to seeing what he will plan for us while I'm there.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sonnet Saturday (sonnet #2)

I'm really liking working within the framework of a Sonnet, so I'm going to try to write a sonnet a week for a while, and will post them on Saturdays.  It just seemed appropriate. :-)

There is a story behind this particular sonnet, and it all began with a discussion about the lenten reflection by Father Barron on Rose windows.  As we were talking about it, both my sister and I were talking about how God seems to be in the process of rearranging us and our priorities.  As I reflected on it that night as I was trying to sleep, the last line of the poem came to me, and I just had to finish it out.

The Rose Window (Sonnet #2)

He searches the debris with studied care
A little red here, that small shard of blue
And snatches each fraction with Love's bright flare.
Others He passes, darkened hues untrue.

Shattered, I survey the scattered ruins
Even as He picks through colored scraps.
My pride seeks full redress in illusion,
Not aware jilted flaws will cause relapse.

He smiles at my folly, still searching through
The fragments of my plans, hopes, wishes, dreams.
His hands never waver--His stance shifts the view--
And points to the specimen he redeems.

The partial rose window hold me en masse:
We shall be God's masterpiece in stained glass.

One of the main Rose windows in the Cathedral in Leon, Spain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My First attempt at a Sonnet

The Bard's great sonnets have intrigued me since I was introduced to them in my high school English class, but I was never brave enough to attempt one...until now.  That being said, I'm not sure what to title this, and I'm sure it could use some work.  If you have any suggestions for a title or better word choice, I'm all ears.

Love lost, like Winter's bitter waxing fruit
Chills the heart, breathing frost to all corners.
Its rind shatters, a pernicious sharp brute
With edges pricking quick-fingered mourners.

Ev'ry waxing must wane in tired coats
Of fallen leaves and musty mothball bins.
The detritus swept within handheld totes
And carted out with empty Christmas tins.

What compost may transform such toxic shards:
Brittle Bastions to healthy fertile soil?
Which words of wisdom grip sleeping bards and
Mend long fallow tracts with frivolous toil?

Like all perennials, the fronds of hope
Unfurl to absorb, revamp, heal and cope.

Some of the beautiful flowers to be seen on campus

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Day In Pictures

A friend of mine has been posting a picture daily of ordinary things in her life that bring her joy, and has tagged them #100OrdinaryDays on her Facebook page.  I really like the idea of doing something like this, but often forget to take a picture a day after about the 15th or 20th day.  I have also been talking online with someone I met through  for the last 2 weeks.  Since he has an M.A. in philosophy, I will call him the Philosopher for any future posts that include him.  Anyway, because I was trying to think about ways to get a better idea of his day to day life (he lives near Dallas), I asked him to chronicle a day of his life in pictures, then promised to do the same for him.  It seems like a more doable option than the picture a day my friend is doing on her Facebook feed, anyway.

Beyond this, I'm going to try to keep my captioning to a minimum and let my pictures speak for themselves...

Morning, Sleepy Head!

Now that you're awake...Breakfast?

Did you say "WALK???"

You did! You did say  Walk!!!

Pretty as a picture

Prayer while Commuting

The paths around the construction

Beautiful Summer Morning

My Building Straight ahead!

Finally to work!

Breakfast and my current favorite tea.

Back to my Car via the parking Garage

Now to look at the other foot...

Waiting for the Doctor

View from the bridge between my parking lot and the parking garage.


My view of the Lab I work in.

Keeping from burning myself on the steering wheel.

You can see Juarez from here!

Looks like Monsoon season is starting early!

A lazy dinner

Typical Rush Hour Traffic a few hours late

Hi, Aunt Ruth. Take my picture!

Do I have to get my picture taken???

Who's There?

Welcome HOME!!!!

Chores before Bedtime!

Icing the site of injection.

Lighting the Candle on the Family Altar...and Lucy. Time to go to Bed!  'Night all!