Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'll Say A Prayer For You

Going to church was a given; it was expected. Since we were children, we went to church every Sunday. There was Ash Wednesday, mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Lent, services for Stations of the Cross, the eating of fish on Friday, midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and any other religious holiday throughout the year. Going to church on Sunday was an indisputable fact.

By eighteen, my religious associations were not as solid as they used to be. By the time I had turned nineteen, I went only because I was too afraid to say, I didn't want to go anymore. But stubborn resolve won out and I finally mustered up the courage. One Sunday morning, I calmly stated to my father, that I would not be going to church. I had reached a religious peak and had no other mountains to climb. I wanted to get down. I knew that there would be resistance from my father, and I had to be ready for anything. I weighed my options should the ultimate threat of "this is my house and these are my rules" was used against me. Mom had always used that threat on a regular basis, but not dad. However, it was possible that it could very well become dad's trump card. I'd be surprised if he used it, but the possibility existed. It would become the proverbial "gauntlet" being thrown down. So, I was ready for anything--or so I thought. Dad's response deflated every possible scenario I had prepared.

"Are you sure?" he asked standing in the hallway in front of his bedroom door. He smelled of Vitalis and aftershave. His voice was calm, and there was not a hint of anger. But, I could see the look of confusion and disappointment on his face. I felt a chink in my resolve, but stubbornness was my alli and I held firm.

I was standing in the doorway of my bedroom still in my bedclothes. I had been up for hours, but felt the clothing would be for added effect (I'd been planning this for a while). Mass started at nine and dad was ready to leave the house at eight. You could always count on dad to get to any event at least an hour before it started. He stood a few feet away in his pressed slacks, white belt, newly polished shoes, and starched collard shirt. I waited, not really sure what would happen next. This could be the quiet before the storm. It was an unexpected event. No one had ever made such a bold move in regards to church. This was big! Whatever reaction I was expecting from him never came. Mom on the other hand was shouting from the end of the hallway near the kitchen. I was used to droning out her voice. Dad looked to her and then back at me. In a light tone he said, "I'll say a prayer for you."

I smiled and said, "thanks, I appreciate it."

I could hear the car backing out of the driveway. Mom was probably giving dad an earful about why he didn't make me go to church. I knew he would try to convince me in other ways to go back to church, but today marked a turning point in our relationship. I had made my first adult decision and dad had recognized it as one.

Hoot! Hoot!

I absolutely hate mornings! For me, mornings shouldn't begin until 10am and even than it should be considered dawn. It takes me forever to get up in the morning. I mean, I have to trick myself into waking up by setting the clock at least 15 minutes faster; I also hit the snooze button on the radio (because I know I've got a 15 minute window of sleep), but to make sure that I don't really go back to sleep I place the clock in an area away from the bed so that I have to get up to hit the snooze button and shut off the alarm. Isn't that the most insane thing you've ever heard? All that just to get a few more minutes of sleep. And then, I read somewhere or heard it on some t.v. show that all my efforts are in vain because the body can't really catch a few zzz's in 15 minutes, it takes longer than that for the body to calm down and get back into a sleeping pattern. So, I guess the bottom line is that even though I hate mornings, I really don't accomplish much by hitting the snooze button; I should set my clock for the correct time, and then get out of bed when the alarm goes off. I really hate mornings! It should be banned! Let's start a petition. Who should we send it to?

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Earth has not anything to show more fair..."

that is the opening line of a poem by William Wordsworth. He is a poet of nature, however in this particular poem, he lauds an urban landscape. In the early morning hours he is surprised to find peace, tranquility and breathtaking beauty in the surroundings of the city. It is an unexpected surprise.

He writes the "City now doth, like a garment, wear the beauty of the morning;" I can dig that. Sometimes I find myself walking through life with my head down, pushing onward through the crowds never really taking the time to witness "the beauty of the morning; silent, bare,/Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples [laying]/Open unto the fields, and to the sky."

I need to remember to look up once in a while. ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Here's Your Lunch Money

This is my favorite picture of dad. When I write or speak of dad, I just say "dad" and not "my dad," because I like the idea that I can include others in his life and share him with them. There are a list of things that I admire about dad, but the one I'm most grateful for was the way he loved. He had a way of putting you at ease, making you laugh, he could draw you into his conversation, he had the greatest insights, and he always had your best interest at heart, and he was never ashamed to show his love.

I stood up to express my thoughts about dad during the family services on the day of his funeral. I said that of all the things I had ever wanted to do for dad, standing there on that day speaking about him was not one of them. It was naive to think that such a day would never happen, but it was something I never wanted to see happen.

Each morning, since the day of the funeral, I woke to a new day and went through the motions of living-- because, after all, life goes on. But it didn't stop me from being astounded at how the world continued on without dad. In my heart, I felt a sense of bitterness and outrage! How dare the world act as though dad's death was just another event in a series of events that happen day-by-day...and life rolls on by! I wanted acknowledgement of his loss by some thing, some one. I wanted the world to feel my loss! I wanted the world to acknowledge that my father was a good man, a great man!

It is difficult to walk the line between child and adult when I think of these things. The child in me would greatly prefer to sit down on the curb and cry my eyes out; the adult in me realizes that it is only temporary. But I still long to be the child, and openly mourn my father's loss. I stare deeply at his picture and the words "come home, daddy" are stuck in my throat wanting so much to be spoken out loud. But saying those words would only make it more painful--and saying it wouldn't make it so. But dad, I want so badly to say, "come home." I want to scream those words from the roof tops if I knew it would make a difference. I miss the happy sound of your voice, and I miss holding your hand. Holding hands with you was one of my favorite things to do. I miss the letters you would send me and your "here's your lunch money" post scripts. I miss you dad. I miss you every day and I'll miss you even longer than that.

Seven Random Things

I am currently new to the blog sensation and have decided that as a means of taking up "the gauntlet" from MYSTERIESinPARADISE, I will tackle this assignment. It's a bit lofty, but I'm always up for a challenge.

1. Last year I flew to Europe (Paris, specifically) for the first time and they didn't even stamp my passport. What the heck is up with that?!

2. Why did Ford put the control for it's high beams on the same lever as the turn signal. While driving at night, if I use the turn signal and press the lever inward unintentionally, than the high beams go on. That's irritating. And to all of you that have been subjected to my high beams unintentionally, I apologize. I should write to Ford about that...it's annoying me!

3. Last week I was feeling very depressed by the financial pressures in my life and had mentioned it to my cousin. As we talked about this, that, and the other it began to dawn on me that I have been using the word "depressed" incorrectly and too readily. My use of the word "depress" took the accountability off of me and onto some unknown factor. The culpability was some intangible force that had waylaid me and therefore, I was unable to strike back. Stating I was feeling "depressed" implied an inability to cope with things in my life. It dawned on me, while speaking with my cousin, that the correct word choice should have been "discouraged." Being "discouraged" implies that while I may currently feel the pressures of life, I am not incapable of correcting or dealing with my situation. Sometimes, it is so easy to grab onto words and expressions as the catch-all diagnosis of what ails us. I think I'm going to try to be more aware of my word choices.

4. Have you seen the Axe body spray commercial with the chocolate scent? There's a scene where the guy is made entirely out of chocolate and he's standing on the bus hanging onto the strap; a woman is seated near him and as the bus continues down the street, she quickly leans over and takes a huge bite out of his chocolate butt. I didn't know whether to be appalled by the brassness of the commercial, but seeing as how I found myself laughing uncontrollably and had quickly called my cousin to tell her about the commerical, I guess it was more shock than appall. It still makes me laugh, and I tell as many people as I can about it.

5. I always tell people (when they ask) that I don't cook. I collect receipes of all types and have probably only made a handful, which weren't that bad. But still, if someone asks, "I don't cook."

6. Ralph Waldo Emmerson wrote that "it is a luxury to be understood." I don't know why I remember that. Interesting.

7. I read the most profound thought by St. Therese of Lisieux. She wrote: "I understand now that perfect charity consists in bearing with others' faults, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice." That is so cool. I love it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This is Gemini. She's my aunt's dog. She's a pretty little thing (when she's not trying to steal food off your plate, or stick her nose in your crotch) and she loves to chase a tennis ball early in the morning.
The last dog I had was named, Hooch. He was smart, and playful, and loved to hang out with me when I worked out in the backyard. When Hooch was just a pup, I used to take him for walks after dinner. But that crazy pup, would walk just as far as he wanted (which was always in one direction) and then he'd sit down and refuse to take another step. So, I'd have to carry him back home. I started taking him on shorter walks when he got older and heavier. He just didn't like long walks. That crazy dog!