Saturday, November 17, 2007

One of those days

You know how sometimes you are just having one of those days: everything seems crappy, nothing is going right, decisions you've made were all wrong, your life is not going in the right direction, etc. etc.

If you couldn't tell by this morning's post, today was one of those days. Self edit: it started out as one of those days.

I called a bunch of people in my phone book just wanting to catch up with friends, to not feel so alone. Then, I called Dana and we made plans for the afternoon.

We didn't do anything overly exciting, just shopping (Christmas present craft supplies, poster frames, etc.) and errand running for her. But she let me vent for more than an hour about everything that I thought was bothering me.

It turns out that most of what sucked this morning was fine by the time we got back from shopping. Now, I have not become some ridiculous girl who is quelled by purchases. I actually needed the stuff I got, and so did Dana. But the company, and having someone not care that what I was saying was complete crap was glorious.

As I whined my way through the first two stores I realized that none of the other stuff mattered because I had this friend who I could call who was happy to listen to me. She didn't blow me off. She didn't change the subject or ask me to stop being childish. And no matter what your troubles are, if you have a loving family (which I do) and at least one friend like that, then you can live your life in emotional security.

When I got home, I found a thoroughly comforting email from another friend. What a blessing it is that I have not just one friend who supports me, but many. Because there are all of you reading this and the friends who called this week just to talk. I have that.

So tonight I encourage everyone to forget about the stupid stuff and embrace the fabulous people who make your life not just bearable but fun and exciting too.

Hugs to all of you!

Love always, ~Heather


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

If the "you" changes and the event(s) that lead to the fooling really aren't foolish, how bad of a policy could it be? Does it really make me foolish?

Though the circumstances and technique have changed since the hallway outside Mrs. Strong's reading class, I still get basically the same result. I'm not sure if it was better then; when I felt foolish and humiliated right away. Now, it is more like the silent treatment.

In the Tequesta cafeteria, back in the day, I got the quiet retreat. Back then, I preferred the noiselessness of it to the personal humiliation. More than 12 years later, I'm glad the "yous" have finally matured to the level I was hoping for - then.

I just wish they could manage to get to the level I'm at now.

So many, like Mrs. Strong, promised it would be different by now. And even after all the so-called fooling, that they were wrong is the most disappointing part.

Reporting from the sadly stagnant world, ~Heather

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Un-Catholic Catholic

Tonight I decided that my mission would be to make new friends and delve better into my faith. I'm not sure I was successful at either one.

At the church near my house they have a Tuesday night book study. Because I was new, I just went to listen and see what it was like. Because I am me, I couldn't restrain myself from comment when I thought there was a discrepancy.

This is how we got into a discussion about whether or not the bread at communion is actually the Eucharist if it isn't blessed by a Catholic priest. I personally think that "wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am there" (paraphrase, I know) and the whole John 6:46-59 (Bread of Life discourse) means that it doesn't matter who blesses the bread - Jesus is present and in that bread regardless. This of course has nothing to do with Catholic doctrine. So, my disagreement not only helped me not delve into my faith (just Catholic history and a little catechism - which is religion, not faith) but it helped me alienate myself from the other people at the book study who very obviously believed that the words "valid", "illicit", and apostolic something-like-tradition or hierarchy made the difference between Eucharist and not.

All of this leads me to believe that although I accept the blood of Christ at communion, I have not drunk the kool-aid of catholicism. I am, perhaps an un-catholic Catholic.

I don't believe in abortion, but don't think the government should decide what women do with their bodies. I think contraception is a good way to avoid en masse abortions. I do NOT believe I am going to hell for committing the so-called mortal sin of taking communion at a non-catholic church.

I love God. I believe in Jesus. I think that the "incorruptible remains" of deceased saints probably had some great preservation (think Egyptian mummies you can still look at today - I think polytheism pretty much rules out their incorruptible nature according to doctrine).

I think saints are blessed people. I believe in the power of sacraments. I do not think any person, even the pope, is infallible; because if they were they would be perfect and perfection exists only in God.

And I've taught CCD. (Though after reading this, many CCD directors might not let me any more.) I go to church 99% of Sundays. I give of my time and talent to the church for now, but hope one day to be able to donate some treasure too. I want to be married in the Catholic church, raise my children in the catholic faith, and do everything I can to prepare myself for heaven.

But I think that Noah lived for so many years because the lunar calendar (approximately13 cycles/year) was the dominant calendar at one time and his real age was a much more reasonable number. I believe in the Genesis story, but I'm fairly certain that since the sun wasn't created on the first day, that it would have been hard for the first day to be 24 hours (lacking the regular things we use to track a day). So it can't all be taken exactly as written.

All of this, I fear, makes me rather un-catholic.

I'm not giving up on divinity or Jesus making Peter the head of the church. I think the pope has a great relationship with God, scripture, and doctrine and is a moral and spiritual leader. I think priests bring a dynamic to religious celebrations that don't exist in their absence. But if ever I am far from a holy man, I think I can talk directly to God and get his forgiveness.

How much of catholicism do you think you have to believe in before you start seeking out another religion? I love catholic church - the consistency and the prayers; I love the music, the history, the way no matter where I go I can find a family. I've tried other religions and do not feel at home. So, though I am rather un-catholic I am still a Catholic. I'm not sure I believe in every aspect of the religion, but there is no other religion that brings out my faith like catholicism. Being catholic feels like home. I hope that my faith in this world will bring me to my spiritual home in the next.

Love always and God bless, ~Heather

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

En France, Veterans Day est le meme chose do la journee d'Armistice.

Please take a moment right now and say a prayer for the health and happiness of veterans everywhere.

Today was Veterans Day across the US and along with my friends Katie and Dana, I decided to celebrate by spending the afternoon at Arlington Cemetery. We went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched the changing of the guard. We also got to see two wreath laying ceremonies - one for the French War (French Guard and probably the ambassador laid the wreath) and the other for the 3rd Battalion Division Society. I didn't cry at the bugle song during the first wreath, but when those men stood there - some being helped down the stairs by their comrades who were equally as old as they were - you couldn't help but well up with pride at their sacrifice.

The three of us talked about it afterwards and decided that we probably couldn't do it - join up in the military. But I have an incredible amount of gratitude for those who are willing to put on a uniform and fight for our protection.

After the ceremonies, we walked around a bit and then had to head home. One thing I dislike about winter in the north, is the time change. It starts getting dusky around 4:30 and the sun is gone an hour later ... the whole day seems shorter because of it.

In other news, I was really productive when I got home: I re-potted my ivy and chives, finished my green and creme scarf (my first striped knitting project!), cooked myself dinner, and finished up some laundry.

I've had to do an insane amount of laundry lately because of being sick (didn't want to spread germs around). I must say that I love having a washing machine about ten feet from my closet, though if the dryer could manage more than three pairs of socks at a time it would be great. But, I guess it is more environmentally friendly that I hang everything to dry.

Last night, I hung out with my friend Malise (a potential new roommate (yes, a move might be in the future)) and her friend Andrew and his friend Danny. We had an absolutely fabulous conversation that ran well into the early morning. One thing that I'm looking forward to (now that I finally got placemats!!) is having people over for long conversation dinners. I forgot how wonderful they were.

Okay, it's getting late and I want to finish picking up the apartment before I have to start back with work again tomorrow. Looking forward to finally catching up on reading all your blogs this week!

See you later ~Heather

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's already November?

I know it has been ages ... my only excuse is that after spending all day at work staring at my computer screen, I can't even fathom why I would turn my computer on when I get home at night. This isn't a good excuse, but it's the best I can offer you.

Aside from having the flu last week (first flu since elementary school, so really, I had it coming), life has been healthy and happy. I work five days a week and try to relax as much as possible on the weekends. I haven't quite settled into a church down here yet, so I still drive to Bethesda each week to sing in the choir.

I'm making friends at work - which is a nice feeling. I recently got to go on a business trip and spent time in NJ visiting family. Halloween was spent party-hopping dressed as Titania from Midsummer Night's Dream (which took more explaining than I hoped it would).

This weekend, I'm reaching out to try and make new friends. I'm paying off old bills and starting to make Christmas presents. I'm getting ready for the end of the year. I'm excited for 2008 (which is still two months away). I know everyday is the start of a new life, but I'm taking this time to wind down and tie up all the loose ends. I feel like I'm finally ready to have my "adult life."

In other good news, the medicine I've been taking has really helped me lose weight - I'm down 17 lbs in the past two months, which is a huge achievement for me. I still have 23 more to go before May (which is my birth month and the beginning of summer clothes season, so the end of my diet time frame). I'm hoping that playing volleyball in the city winter league in addition to the gym and dieting will really help me reach my goal effectively and in a healthy way. The healthier I stay taking the weight off, the more likely it is to stay off.

Last night Dana and I went to see Lars and the Real Girl - I definitely recommend it to anybody. The themes in the movie are truly universal - I think you'll like it.

For now, I'm off to clean up the apartment, re-pot my ivy and chives and then catch the Carolina-Florida game on ESPN while having dinner up in Chinatown with friends. Couldn't ask for a better weekend.

Love always (even when I don't write!), ~Heather