As a reformed cynic, I take care not to backslide… cynical Marie isn’t the nicest of people. Trust me. Hence today’s theme!
Good Thing #1:
Baseball. I went to the Syracuse Chiefs game on Monday. Not only did they win (in resounding fashion, 12-4) but it was an event hosted by my employer as an end-of-semester thank you, so I didn’t have to pay for it. even better.
Good Thing #2:
Wegmans. (I’m a broken record on this, aren’t I?) I must admit that I was disheartened to see that they are no longer making Lemon fruit on the bottom nonfat yogurt (I have very particular tastes) but it’s also exciting when three of the very food items I needed happened to be on unadvertised sale this week. So there’s that! If you must know, I love their pierogies. And they were marked down even more than normal. Exciting!
Good Thing #3:
School is over! I submitted my last assignment of the semester on Wednesday. Grades won’t come out for a while, but I don’t even care. I’m off from intellectualism and scholarship until July 1. Yay!
Good Thing #4:
Coffee. (Really, how could I leave this out?) I love the community that coffee builds. There’s the group of people constantly wishing each other a good morning and a clink on twitter (shoutout to #TeamCoffee); there’s the conversation I have with my professor when we happen to ride the same shuttle to campus, travel mugs in hand; there’s the random 5 minute conversation I have about school-library-centric journals/magazines with the guy I’d never met before in the staff lounge, as we waited for a fresh pot to brew. Anyway. Coffee. It’s a really Good Thing.
Also, I submit this:
(image source: http://imgfave.com/view/1136557)
Good Thing #5:
The local library. Since school’s out, and I must do something while sipping my coffee throughout the day, I’ve got a big stack of novels and non-novels to peruse. I just picked up “A People of Hope”, which is a book written interview/conversation style with then-Archbishop Dolan. I plan to take it with me next week when I go on…
Good Thing #6:
Vacation. Books are great for sitting in airports, sitting on planes, and making sure that the random person sitting next to you doesn’t try to engage in conversation. I’m psyched for vacation. My cousin is getting married (yay, lifelong commitment!) and that’s created an opportunity to see many members of my extended family. Plus, I’ve never been to Charleston. Should be a fun adventure!
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Good Thing #7:
Cooking/Baking. I was on a roll this week…though that was one of the few things I didn’t make. I just got into “use ALL the ingredients” mode and, among other things, ended up making yogurt scones, healthified raspberry cookie bars, my (in)famous molasses spice cookies, spinach lasagna rolls, baked chicken with jasmine rice… it was a good week to be in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I now have to restock a few things. The amount of molasses I use on a regular basis is ridiculous. I wish it came in gallon-size jars…
^ the afore-mentioned molasses cookies. noms. also, I am always willing to share so let me know if you want the recipe!
but enough of that. I’m outta here!
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Can you tell it’s almost the end of the semester? Fun times. (Half-sarcastic, half-realistic). Last night we had a 2-hour poster session/presentation for our team projects for IST 613 - Library Planning, Marketing, and Assessing. Here’s my team with our poster! (I’m the far left person, kinda obviously.) It went well, so yay.
Only 1.5ish assignments left in my other class this semester, IST 663 - Motivating 21st Century Learning. Yay. It’s all over soon!
I went to a talk today that some of the IT guys in my school were hosting/presenting on internet security. The take-aways (other than pizza and diet pepsi) were: hacking isn’t that difficult, don’t use Internet Explorer, and 1337 speak doesn’t count as a “safe password” anymore. Fun times!
34 degrees with snow flurries here today. Yep! :) The person who wrote “it’s almost summer” on the whiteboard in my office five+ weeks ago is probably not quite so happy…
I’m looking for places to adventure to this summer, preferably not far away since I can barely afford to fill my tank as is. I pinned a picture of Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca yesterday on Pinterest, and 18ish people have repinned it. Either there are now spammers on Pinterest, or someone put it on the front page, or something. That’s just one of the places I’m considering!
One of my summer goals is to get to a Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards. There are entirely too many people in my life who I insist I see that ballpark, plus, they have this new hot dog that comes with a crab dip on top. I can deal with that. :)
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I had a great conversation with the guy handing out free samples of organic dark chocolate ice cream at Wegmans today. Apparently the organic version is a bit smoother and less ‘dark’ than the non-organic dark chocolate ice cream. Who knew?! I admitted I kind of like the bitter taste of dark chocolate, because it’s kind of like coffee. He admitted it just a bit too bitter and while he didn’t particularly care about the organic aspect, their flavor was better. T’was a nice little debate. And free ice cream, which I never buy. Not a bad Friday conclusion.
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This is the Sea of Galilee.
That’s the sea Jesus walked across, in the midst of a storm, to get to his disciples, who were rowing through the storm in an attempt to reach the other side.
Photo credit: Frank Starmer. More awesome pictures here.
He is Jesus. I am Marie. I’m not capable of a lot of the amazing stuff Jesus accomplished in his short lifetime. Something about that whole divine-and-human thing, perhaps? So I’m the kind of person who has to get in a boat and actually row across the sea to get to where I’m going. No walking on the water for me. But moving on…
The visiting priest at Mass today actually reflected back on last Friday and Saturday’s gospel readings, to tie them into today’s.
(FYI: Friday - Jn 6:1-15, Saturday - Jn 6:16-21, today - Jn 6:30-35.)
When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.
And Fr. Joe made me laugh when he summed it up as such - the disciples, here they are fretting and waiting for Jesus (who was up on the mountainside praying, if you look back at the previous verses) and they’re rowing and rowing for miles in this storm, and then Jesus shows up. And before they even have the time to fret on how to get him off the sea and into their boat, they’re at the shore. Boom. And Jesus is all, “couldn’t take an extra few moments to pray, but had to get out there and tackle the storm, eh? Well, I took those extra few moments, and did we not arrive at the shore at the same time? Think on that.” (not a real quote. obviously.)
I’m stubborn. Sometime it takes quite a few iterations of the same exact thing for me to have one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments. Well, apparently the disciples had the same issue at times. We can look at the tasks ahead and think, “I’m going to have to climb out of bed this morning and buckle down to work first thing if I plan to accomplish everything I need to.” And how simple that segues into “I can’t possibly take the time to pray this morning. Or during the midst of my day. Or before I go to sleep. Just too much to do.”
And then hours, or miles, later, we’re left with that realization that nigh everything is easier when the burden is shared. And those 10 minutes we couldn’t seem to find in the morning to focus, not on ourselves and our problems, but on the Creator who loves us and wants to walk (or row) with us through all those problems… well, we suddenly realize those 10 minutes could have made the next 100 that much easier.
(Today’s) Psalm 31: In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
So what did I get out of today? Don’t fight the storm for miles and miles before turning to the God who loves you. Start there, and then tackle all the rest of it.
Direct quote from Matthew Kelly’s Rediscovering Catholicism (which just happened to be on the bookshelf in the chapel during my Holy Hourandahalf last week):
The reason prayer and contemplation are so integral to the Christian life is because thought determines action. Thought determines action, and so the actions of your life are determined by your most dominant thoughts.
Certain thoughts give birth to certain actions. With each passion day God invites you to change, to grow, and to become a better version of yourself. God loves you as you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way.
Kelly continues in this vein for a while, and I didn’t write down page numbers so I can’t properly cite the passages (librarian fail) but his conclusion to this line of thinking rests in the discernment of a vocation. As such, he says that there is but one question that, when actively and earnestly sought, can lead one to actual happiness in this earthly world: "God, what do you think I should do?"
Ah, a reminder unlike any other - the best part of this question is that it’s never old, or tired, or cliche. It’s the timeless question. Sure, there are times of the day where I don’t need to ask it - for example, the answer to “should I make coffee this morning” is always yes, because I believe in a loving God - but there’s never really a time in life where I can say “by George, I’ve got it! I understand everything now and know exactly how it’s all going to go down!”
With that out of the way, there have been a number of times in life where I’ve said “repeat the quote that concludes the paragraph above”. Apparently I don’t always get the memo the first time around. But isn’t that the beauty? Every time I’ve figured out that I’ve gotten it wrong because I’ve stopped, looked, and listened, and realized to start asking “God, what do you think I should do?” Is it sad that it sometimes takes me trying to be in complete control and failing miserably at it to remember this? Sure, it’s sad. But it’s also the beauty of redemption - one failing does not a failure make, whatsoever.
Simple thoughts? Perhaps, but if our thoughts determine our actions, then perhaps thinking more about remembering to cede control of those aspects of life I can’t control to the God who wants to be a guiding force will lead me to act more in ways that recognize this truth. And based on previous experience, that would definitely be a positive change.
Let’s start with the important news: my team’s hockey season isn’t over… YET. In a game which could have been the eliminating 4-game sweep, the Penguins ended up taking it to Philly, in Philly, and won 10-3. (Yes, 10 goals. In a hockey game.) So at least there’s that. Game 5 is tonight, in Pittsburgh, and I’m currently wearing my #71. Do or die, boys. Step up. #PensIn7
<—I like this slightly old-school logo.
I finally got my haircut last Friday. It had been since September. So, it’s shorter, lighter, not nearly as psychotic - oh, okay, it’s just as psychotic as before - and I like it. Now it can grow out for another 6+ months, because I’m such a cheapskate that I simply refuse to get my haircut frequently.
I made some fantastic oatmeal peanut butter banana bars this week. A good way to use up a ripe banana that was just too mushy to eat on its own, plus, I love oatmeal. Also, peanut butter. Here’s the recipe if you’re intrigued!
And here’s the picture if you’re not tempted yet…
Yesterday I attended the #140cuse conference. You can search twitter for that hashtag, but there were 12k+ tweets, so it could be confusing. The wrap-up is that is focused on social media, new media, “the state of now”, and featured lots of different speakers/representatives. I met the co-creator of Reddit, social media team members from Wegmans, a school administrator from Canada…it was a definite mixed bag of people. My favorite presentation was probably the social media guy from MLB, who went through the history of Sept. 28, 2011, and how things went down on day 162 of the regular season last year. Very cool.
I’m done with this semester in about 10 days. They are going to be some very long days, indeed. Pray for my sanity! I’ve made it this far; I know I can finish.
I am somewhat last-minute-decidedly going to my cousin’s wedding next month. Because it’s so far away (South Carolina), I’ll be gone for almost an entire week. Not only will I get to see my parents again, but my sister, her husband, several aunts, uncles, many cousins, my grandmother… it’s basically a family reunion of sorts. Exciting! (And a lovely post-semester gift.)
I kinda miss Lent already, but I’m not entirely sure why. I just felt so very focused. Perhaps I need to come up with 40-day-at-a-time challenges for myself. There’s something about breaking things down into manageable pieces that makes it more motivating and, mentally, reinforces the idea that I can actually succeed. While I do try to “be the best version of [myself]” everyday, it’s more overwhelming some days than others… and life is just one heck of a long string of days, if we’re so fortunate. To be continued as I ponder more.
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It’s hockey playoffs, which might very well be my favorite time of the year. If you follow me on twitter, this is why you’re being inundated with tweets that might not make very much sense on various evenings from 7:30-10pmish. Also: Go Penguins! (I’m writing this during intermission.)
Penguins banners hanging in the rafters at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh (Sept. 2010 photo)
What might be a reason for this time of year to not be my favorite? Allergies. I’ve been a mess for the past few weeks, and it’s not looking to abate anytime soon. (And I take 2 meds a day.) Today, my face was just aching, solely from sinuses.
Also a reason for this time of year to not be my favorite: it’s the last few weeks of the semester. Which means a lot of big projects that are coming due and demanding quite a bit of effort, while at the same time my brain just wants to stop, drop, and roll all over the month of April straight to May. So motivation is, well, a work in progress.
A reason this might be my favorite time of year: we just wrapped up Holy Week, celebrated Holy Thursday, contemplated Good Friday, rejoiced at the Resurrection (which was Saturday late evening, as I went to Vigil per my usual), and now we’re in the Easter season. Definitely a reason to be in love with this time of year.
Also a positive: Mama and Daddy came to visit me for Easter! They were here Friday-Monday AM, and we had a blast. We went on adventures to yard sales and to see the Cathedral, we played cards, we watched a movie or two, we cooked, and we had a big Easter Sunday dinner with my sister and brother-in-law.
An incredibly random photo of my parents power washing our house back in Ohio. It’s so colorful!
And another positive: the Farmer’s Market! We went last weekend, it was a chilly but sunny blue-sky day, and there was plenty of fresh produce to be had for sometimes-even-better-than-bargain prices. Who doesn’t love that?
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Just one more great thing about this time of year: even though it’s been slightly cold, it’s going to be warm enough to go running this weekend. I think I’m finally going to start back up with a regular schedule, after taking a few weeks off post-marathon, and I’m looking for possible events in the CNY as a goal - not to really race or break any records, but just as something to look forward to. I’m looking forward to getting my legs going again!
Incredibly terrible photo of me (in the lime and fuchsia with orange sunglasses, of course) trying to give a thumbs up while finishing the marathon - this was about 100yds from the actual finish, so I was a wee bit tired/hungry/chafed/sore. But the ocean is pretty!
So there ya go. :)
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I makezeroclaims to being well-versed, to being an expert, or even to being heavily invested. I am a fan of the sport of hockey, and a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s all.
#1 NY Rangers v. #8 Ottawa Senators: definitely going with the Rangers. In…5.
#2 Boston Bruins v. #7 Washington Capitals: going with Boston. I’ll give it to ‘em in 6.
#3 Florida Panthers v. #6 NJ Devils: let’s face it, if it wasn’t for the way hockey playoffs are seeded, this matchup would never exist in the order in which it is presented. A great comeback of a season for Florida, but Devils in 5.
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins v. #5 Philadelphia Flyers: easily the “must watch” opening round series in the East. Of course, I’m taking my Penguins, but I see this potentially stretching out to 7.
#1 Vancouver Canucks v. #8 LA Kings: this could potentially be a great series. The Canucks have a lot to live up to, and they’re against Jonathan Quick. I’d love to take LA with the upset, but reality tells me to side with Vancouver in 6.
#2 St. Louis Blues v. #7 San Jose Sharks: who foresaw the Blues making it to the playoffs, and as a 2 seed no less? Granted, I don’t pay much attention to the West, but I’m going to go with Blues in 5. The Sharks just don’t seem to have it together this season (I’m sure they’ll now prove me wrong.)
#3 Phoenix Coyotes v. #6 Chicago Blackhawks: can the Coyotes pull of a series win in the playoffs? I wish I thought so…but I don’t. Chicago in 7.
#4 Nashville Predators v. #5 Detroit Red Wings: I’m going with Nashville on this one. Pekka Rinne is a boost to Nashville, and I just foresee them finallyhaving some serious success in a quest for the Cup. They’re strong, and while Detroit is good, a long series could show their age (or not, in the case of Jimmy Howard…) Either way, I’m taking Nashville in 7.
Well. Now that I’ve said all that, probably every prediction will be wrong… except for my Penguins.