Saturday, August 27, 2005

Busy Bee

The first week of school has been a rush and I already have between 400-500 pages of reading due for next week (I love being an English major). However, I have four day weekends to keep me sane and to do LOTS of reading over.

This Friday, Larry and I took off after breakfast and headed up to Sky Meadows. It's a really beautiful park and receives a lot less tourist attention than Skyline/Shenandoah. After a beautiful hike through a quiet, forested hillside, a gorgeous view of farms, lakes, and blue-hazed mountains is spread out below you.

Last night, a bunch of us watched "The Notebook." (Even though we skipped the bad scenes, I wouldn't recommend it. It drives me crazy when they try and make a cute romance movie based on lust-driven relationship.) Then, we played Ultimate Frisbee for a while before girl-chat time back in the dorms. Ergo, I tried to get a ton of reading accomplished this afternoon before the Luau tonight. I love the rush of beginning of the year events before we all fall into the normal school rut and routine, at the same time though, I suppose sanity has some worth . . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Lovely Life

Dear Friends,
School has begun with the usual rush of excitement. I think I've sat in more meetings this past week than is good for anyone's health and well-being but our group of RA's and Proctors rocks and I think they'll be able to pull together an awesome year. Kelly and I also had our first hall meeting last night. I love my 27 freshmen and they have an infectious enthusiasm that will make them a dynamic and lively floor if they keep it focused. Orientation activities were lots of fun, as usual, with a ton of "my girls" participating in fluffy bunny and similar games/contests. The RAs have had plenty of opportunities to "introduce" themselves to the freshmen too through lovely skits.

My first few classes were great too. Well, I only made it to about 15 min. [I was in the ER with a girl all morning] of my Dr. Rice class on all the depressing novels (aka Engl 301) but it looks good. English novel with Dr. Standford will be a lot of fun (hey, I get to re-read Brideshead and Persuasion - twist my arm). Theology Applied to Psychology with Dr. DiVietri is going to be AWESOME. He explored modern psych. but then, re-examines its strengths and weaknesses through an examination of man through the Catholic perspective of man as a composite of body and soul (not JUST a material being as modern psych. treats it).

Oh, and my thesis will be officially in the Spring now, though I'm doing a directed study on my topic this semester. Yup, 6 credits on one paper - beware, I may start ranting on language and the ways it's used and abused at times . . .

I hope you're all well and my prayers are with those returning to school or venturing out on the post-graduate "work world."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Colors/Themes for My Floor

Because I'm a girl and SOME people who read this might appreciate this . . .

Gerber daisies are intrinsically happy flowers. [They remind me of Bo too - I'll miss you girly!]

Quick Update

My dear friends,
Life is lovely (though insane as always). I moved into my new floor this week at college and dove straight into RA training. They've kept us busy. If I had been smart, I would have taken some time off of work before this, but as it is my mind and my immune system are a bit at odds. My immune system is winning. I'm really excited about meeting all my girls on my floor. Pray for all of us that we have a great start to the year.
I'll keep in touch once life slows down a bit (ahem).
God bless, Kelly Jo

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Day Dreaming of Italia

Dear Rome Students,

Happy Feast of Santa Chiara (Saint Clare), helpmate of Saint Francis and a true woman of God!

I'll never forget the beautiful streets of Assisi. Early in the morning, I'd wander through the winding side-streets and along the edge of the worn city walls. Most of the tourists were still in bed after a night enjoying Tuscany's wines, and my only companions were the solitary cats hiding among the charming flower pots balancing on the narrow steps. Then, I'd round a corner and a beautiful cathedral was before me. As pretty as Santa Chiara was though, I have to admit that my favorite view was looking down on San Francesco from the top of the high wall outside Santa Margarita. Hmmmm . . . I'd advise almost anyone to visit there for a peaceful retreat from the business of daily life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

How to Get Rich Quick in the USA

In America we have lots of opportunities for self and wealth improvement. Unfortunately, some people choose to put all thier energy into the wealth improvement part and don't seem to mind if their reputation or self-respect level plummets as a result. Below is a list of some of these poor speciments of the American get-rich-quick-by-whining culture. . . .
[Thanks to Christy for the forward.]

It's time once again to review the winners of the Annual "StellaAwards." The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck of New Mexico who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's. That case inspired the Stella awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States.

Here are this year's winners:

7th Place: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehavinglittle toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.

6th Place: 19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th Place: Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.

4th Place: Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedlywith a pellet gun.

3rd Place: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2nd Place: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms.Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded$12,000 and dental expenses.

1st Place: This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinskiof Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back & make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs.Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.

As a connoisseur of human folly . . . oh my.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Discriminated Against

"That of which we do not speak"

"The heart of darkness"

"demonic hands on the ends of your legs"

"Suessville incarnate"


"The center of the culture of death"

These and other cruel names are often applied to an innocent source of comfort. Discriminated against, shy, hiding in the recesses of a dark drawer, yet longing to be useful and appreciated and comforting the cold feet of their owners--this is the life of toe socks in a world full of critical men . . .

What is it with guys and their eternal hatred of toe socks? They are merely an advancement in fashion that recognizes the importance and uniqueness of the individual toe. The wide variety of colors and styles further assists in the all-important expression of creative personality.

[Can you tell I've been reading too much politically correct lingo at work??? Ok, I'm done ranting now . . . ]

Rose Petals

Dear Friends, I wish you a blessed Feast of Saint Dominic. For visitors who are not familiar with his story, check it out on the Saint of the Day link on my sidebar. She also used him as an instrument to promote the devotion of the Rosary, a set of biblically based prayers that rise to heaven like a bouquet of roses to Our Lord.

Yesterday, Nora, Bridget, Larry, and I drove up to Hershey Park for the day (to celebrate Nora's birthday). On the way up, it began to rain--a lot. So we prayed the rosary, entrusted our day to the Lord (come on Jesus, you're not really going to ruin a cute little 9 year olds' special day are you? puppy eyes towards heaven . . . ), and He was kind and held off the rain from the moment we entered the park until the second we left. Thank you! I know that makes the rosary sound like a lucky charm, but honestly, it's a powerful prayer (especially on the lips of a beautiful child like Nori.) Lovely day!

Another note on roses . . . Heather & Mike's wedding on Saturday was gorgeous! Vocally, I wish I hadn't been so rusty, but it was lovely to sing with that small choir again.

Speaking of roses . . . Larry wins the Sweetest Boyfriend award. (Enjoy your time at home!)
Sorry Adrienne, no more public details. ;)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Full Grammatical Gamut

Last night, I stopped by Beth's apartment to see her and Ariel before heading home from a choir practice (my voice is dead--I haven't sung in WAY too long!) They easily roped me in to watching The Usual Suspects with them and Mr & Dr. M. Though I don't think I could easily recommend the movie (the f-word was used in every grammatical structure and fragment possible as well as plenty of other crude scraps of gutter-lingo), but the plot was really intriguing and I really enjoyed the performance of some of the actors. And of course, we girls ended up talking about truth, beauty, art, and literature/writing until about midnight when iI left to drive home. Hanging out with those two girls is an instant recipe for disaster where my bed-time is concerned. But, in return I gain priceless joy derived from good conversation and company and an intellectual haven where I'm not afraid to spout ideas and to have others help me to develop them. On a lighter note [oh gosh, really bad unintentional pun looking back at my intro phrase], though I don't smoke now and never plan on starting, the movie almost made me wish I had picked up one of those snazzy silver flip-lighters in Rome . . .

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quilt Squares from the Thought Rag Bag

* I've begun to realize why people don't mind living in crazy places that aren't as beautiful or temperate as my home state . . . When people live in a temperature controlled environment at home and under the hypnotising fluorescent lights at work, weather only affects them in the form of driving conditions. So sad--people, get out and take a breath of fresh air every so often. People were not meant to stay inside all the times staring at lit screens that ruin their eyesight. [Yes, I can't wait until I'm back in the mountains in two weeks.]

* Tonight I get to go up to F.R. & practice with a small choir for an upcoming wedding. There is something magical about singing with a group of friends--especially when you're singing to God together. That sounds cliche, but perhaps it's just that the combination of "when two or more are gathered in my Name, there I am in the midst of them" and "singing is praying twice." I've always loved to pray through music: through the lyrics and through the pure beauty of it. Unfortunately, I think I'll be too busy to serve in choir this coming semester. I'll just have to fool around on my guitar and jump into random small group choirs for special events so I don't wither and die for lack of musical company. :)

* My friend Becca is going to spend a year in India spreading the Word of God; and another friend, Anna, is dedicating a year to mission work with Regnum Christi. Both of them will be sent out sometime this month. Please pray for them that God will use them as effective instruments for the furthering of His Kingdom!

* Last weekend, I got together/talked with a bunch of friends (individually as well as in groups). Thank you to the people who arranged the group stuff (AJ & Becca). And to all my friends I got to catch up with . . . you all are awesome. I loved seeing you and can't wait to share another year at school with most of you!

* For those who didn't hear, Susan Torres' baby was born! Thanks be to God for people, like the Torres family and all those who supported them, who are willing to stand up in the face of the culture of death and do what is difficult but right. What a contrast to the advocates of Terri Schiavo's death!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cliff Notes That Got Too Close to the Edge

This is one of those sites that brightens a sleepy workday and distracts you from doing more worthwhile things like actually reading the books themselves. It condenses classic books to a handful of lines from the main characters. On the linked sites on the page they have movies and children's books similarly abbreviated. My thanks to the Peeping Thomists for introducing me to another source of lunch break amusement (I can only laugh at/with my co-workers so long before my smile muscles hurt and I start to cry and need something more calming.) ;)

Book-A-Minute Link

Monday, August 01, 2005

Random Thoughts on Life

Not exactly definitive proof, but I want to support anyone who, like me, has the delicate taste to realize the intrinsic superiority of dark chocolate over white or milk chocolate.

In gay-marriage approved states, they're trying to change birth certificate forms to list Parent A & Parent B instead of Father & Mother. Remind anyone of the way "Father" & "Mother" are dirty words in Brave New World?

Oh, I never told people though I said I would . . . I finally trudged to the end of War of the Worlds (the book). The focus was too much on sensationalism driven by description to really impress me. However, Wells' descriptions of the way various characters would deal with a crisis was more intriguing and believable. My favorite was the man living in the London pipe system toward the end, a man with high hopes, ambitions, and ideas but with little follow through or work ethic to actualize his plans. I don't remember the radio broadcast version of it clearly, but it seemed to capture the feel of the work in a more concise and poignant manner. Yet, perhaps the book failed on this particular audience because I don't have the common imagination/awe/fears of the people in that era. Anyone else read it? I'd love to hear comments from someone who has studied/is interested in H.G. Wells' more complete vision or world view, a subject I know little about.