Monday, June 18, 2012

End of May/ Beginning of June and Echo Summer II

I am sorry for how long it's taken me to write. I've been busy. I figured I’d recap a little from last time, since it was written so quickly.

First, I left Indianapolis to go to Rolla for a couple of days, then headed up to KC for Amanda's wedding.

Now, Amanda asked me to come up early, so I got there on Wednesday (the wedding was Saturday). We were pretty busy because Amanda didn't outsource anything. I'm not sure what their total wedding budget was, but it was pretty small. Brent's mom made the cake and his sister, Christina, decorated it. It looked gorgeous-- better than any professional cake I've ever seen. Amanda did the flowers (with a little help from Lisa and me). Amanda, Brent, and I  did the rest of the food-- I was in charge of the kitchen during the reception. I think I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off for most of the week, trying to be the biggest help I could. The wedding got on with only a couple mishaps, one of which being that I forgot my dress at home in Rolla. It all worked out well, and the new Miller family had a beautiful wedding.

While I was in KC, I couldn't stay with Amanda because her apartment was full of bridesmaids (it's a tiny apartment, right off the plaza-- nice location, but not a great size). So, I stayed at Jerusalem Farm. Many of you probably remember the wonderful experiences I've had at Nazareth Farm and Bethlehem Farm. Well, this one is a new one. I'm loving it. Getting to stay there was one of the highlights of my week. I got to come home to people who I can only call "my type of people," which was a blessing when I was coming "home" from Latin Mass (not my type at all). We had a lot of fun and I got to know Jessie and Jordan Schiele much better. They're lovely people. All my friends in Missouri should check Jerusalem Farm out as soon as they can!

The day after the wedding, I went to breakfast and Mass with my friend, Bernie, and then headed back to Rolla. I got home just in time. I walked into my parents' house and looked at my dad. He looked absolutely awful-- pale white, breathing hard... Mom told me that she had been trying to get him to go to the hospital since the day before, but he wouldn't go. I told him he had to go and finally he agreed to. I'm not sure I really gave him an option. Mom said she was going to force him, but knew I'd be home soon and I could get him to go easier than she could (it's a baby girl thing, Daddy rarely says no to me).

So, Mom and I spent a less than awesome day and evening in the ER with Dad and they admitted him, saying that he had severe pneumonia in the lower part of his left lung. It was pretty bad. Over the next two days, I became familiar yet again with the hospital in Rolla, something I wish I could avoid for a while now. Mom was able to stay with us on Monday because it was Memorial Day, but had to go to work Tuesday. The big problem was that Mom was having surgery the Friday of the same week, so she had to get the hospital ready for her being gone.

On Tuesday, around 5pm, I finally got to bring Dad home. He was doing better, but not much. I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with him, not even leaving the house. Then, Friday, my aunt and grandmother took mom in for her surgery, since we couldn't leave Dad alone. I felt bad not being with her. My aunt kept calling to tell me how things were going, but what Aunt Sharon didn't seem to understand is that the problem with my Mom and surgery is not the surgery. Mom heals really well. Mom's problem is the anasthetic, which she has almost not woken up from before. So, really, Aunt Sharon was just making me more anxious by calling me.

At any rate, Saturday I had two sickies to take care of. Sunday, I went in to Mass and brought them the Eucharist. By Monday morning, two things were apparent: 1) Mom could probably handle taking care of herself and Dad for a couple of hours on her own and 2) that was good, because if I didn't get the heck out of the house, I was going to go crazy. So, I went to the store to take care of a couple of things.

In the middle of all this, I noticed that the water was tasting funny, so we have been drinking bottled water (something I hate doing). I had to go get more water, for one thing, because I think that contaminated water was what was making Dad sick. We still haven't found out if that's the case.

But, I went into town Monday, happy to get away for a couple of hours (literally a couple of hours). Then, I came home. We spent a lot of time that week watching movies and reading. I think I read 7 books over the course of the two weeks that I was home.

Tuesday, I went to lunch with a new friend and then Mom and I got adventurous and went out to dinner with friends. Wednesday was spent at home, as was Thursday, and Friday was spent preparing to go to Notre Dame.

One thing I have to say for all this is that, even though I missed going to Texas (which was heartbreaking-- Ponikiewskis, I miss you!), I got to spend more time with my mother at once than I have EVER spent with her in my whole life. We've never gone on family trips and Mom has always worked late hours and early hours and all the hours in between. I'm sorry she was sick and had to have surgery, but it was kind of fun being together.

Friday was an adventure getting ready to leave. Mom ended up buying me a camera, since mine wasn't working very well. It's really nice and I'm trying to take as many pictures as possible, since I have a grand total of like 5 from last summer. It's my last year at Notre Dame!

I also ended up borrowing my best friend's (Hannah's) mini fridge, since the one that I took to college the first two years didn't even fit into my car.

So, last week on Saturday (the 9th?) I left for Indianapolis, where I would spend the night and then go on to Notre Dame.

Saturday, I got to Indianapolis just in time to go to Mass with my friend, Annie, and her family. It was fun being back in Indy and nice to know the roads (I was perpetually relying on my GPS in KC). After Mass, Annie and I went to a concert at The Vogue in Indy for Jon McLaughlin, who was really good. I had never heard him before, but Annie loves his music. It was fun just to be with Annie, who is such a dear friend. She is often the very embodiment of joy. I wish everyone could know her and love her. She brings such sunshine into my life!

So, Saturday night I got back to my house really late. Amy had to let me in, since I gave up my key for the summer (annoying). But it was nice to sleep in "my" bed.

Sunday morning, I got up and headed for ND, stopping at a Marsh on the way to buy fruit for breakfast. It wasn't a very long drive, and it's an easy one. I made 13/14 stoplights on a green!! (We keep score.)

I got to ND around 1, which was when we could move in. I was the first from Echo 8, and only the second to arrive. Meg Kanatzar, who was one of my BEST friends at UD, got there just a little before me, but waited for me, so I could show her where to park. Apparently, the guard told her it was confusing. At any rate, it was SOOOO good to get there and have a hug from my Meggie, who I hadn't seen since my trip to UD in October (she was the generous soul who let me sleep on her floor).

We unloaded quickly and about halfway through, Luke Slonkosky, one of our directors, showed up. Then, other Echoes started arriving. It was unnerving that there were so many people I didn't know! Now, of course, Echo 9 has not only grown on me, but wormed their way into my heart the same way that 7&8 did. Dear Echo 9, I love you. Thanks for being part of our family!

Unpacking, eating dinner in the dining hall, hanging out... it all happened so fast, I'm not sure there's much to tell. I think I've learned the names a lot more quickly this year, but I only had 9 names to memorize this year instead of 23 (I already knew three of the Echo 9 class-- 2 were my friends in college and 1 came to visit our community to get a feel for Echo back in the fall. I'm so glad they're all here!).

Orientation was great and a typical Colleen Moore experience. She's our director, and she is wonderful.

I'm rooming with my friend Meghan (different from Meg/Megan) and sharing a quad with Kathy and Pam. It's an ongoing adventure.

Classes started today and I'm in the break between classes and I thought that I would take some time to update you all before I start my homework. I hope that you are all well. My Dad is doing much better, thank you for your prayers. I'm doing okay. I'm exhausted and my plan for recharging my batteries fell apart because of my Dad's sickness, but I think I'll pull through. It's a day to day thing.

Classes are going to be interesting. This module I'm taking Theology of Prayer and Teresa of Avila. Next module will be "Contemplation and Action" and "Catholic Sacraments."

Also, my friend Annie (from the concert) is having trouble. Her external harddrive, which had everything (pictures, video, homework, stuff for comps) from the last five years, quit working. Please pray that the people she is sending it to can fix it!

And, as always, I'm praying for you, please pray for us!!


Friday, June 1, 2012

The End of May

So, since the last time I wrote, several very important things have happened.

My last weekend in Indianapolis was spent doing three things: 1) hanging out with my hoursemate, Matt; 2) packing like a crazy person; and 3) attending the wedding of two of my very dear students, Brendan and Katie Quinn.

Katie and Bren’s wedding was BEAUTIFUL! I have to say, Katie did a great job planning, organizing, decorating, etc. Also, the food was breakfast for dinner, which is brilliant. I think that will have to be featured in my own wedding, should the event ever arise.

So, I spent Sunday at their wedding and then left bright and early Monday morning for home, arriving in time to go with my mom and grandmother to the KC Ladies’ Auxiliary meeting. I love going to the Ladies Auxiliary because it’s always good to see people from home, and this time was no different. We played bingo and my table won half of the prizes (everyone else was rather jealous). And, of course, I ended up with all of them, because it was my aunts and mom and grandma. So, that was fun.

I spent Tuesday with my dad having lots of fun and then left for Kansas City on Wednesday. I was spending the rest of the week helping my friend Amanda with her wedding. Fortunately, I got to break up the stress a little bit by spending the nights at Jerusalem Farm, which was AMAZING! I’m so excited about the farm and I loved getting to see Jessie and Jordan and meeting Becca and Jeremy.

Anyways, on Wednesday we cut up fruit and went to Latin Mass. On Thursday we made bouquets and had the rehearsal dinner. Friday was for decorating and finishing the food, followed by the rehearsal and then the bachelorette party! I think Amanda enjoyed it, so that was great (I had fun, too!). Then, Saturday, was Amanda’s wedding! It’s crazy to think that one of my best friends from the last five years, with whom I often complained of being single, is now Mrs. Brent Miller! Congrats, darling.

Sunday, I had coffee and went to Mass with my friend, Bernie, and then headed home. I got home and walked in the door, took a look at my dad, and told him I was taking him to the ER. He looked awful, and he should, since he had a pretty bad case of pneumonia and a UTI to boot. We spent all night Sunday followed by Monday and Tuesday in the hospital. Unfortunately, this ruined the Memorial Day party my Aunt Linda threw especially because I was home. However, it was really important to be with my Dad.

So, I got to bring Dad home on Tuesday. I was supposed to leave Wednesday for Texas so I could see my friends and be there for Randi’s graduation, but unfortunately that was just not possible with Dad’s health. We’ve been hanging out at the house ever since.

To top it all off, today my Mom had surgery to have her gallbladder removed. So, basically, I’m taking care of sick parents. Fun, fun. It’s not that I mind so much as it is that I wish they weren’t sick. I love them and hate to see them both so puny!

Tomorrow, I’ll be watching Randi graduate via the internet, just like I did Trevor last year. It won’t win me the adopted sister of the year award, but Randi understands. I just miss my “other family!” It’ll just have to wait. I’m hoping to go to Texas in August, or to convince Travis and possibly Trevor and Randi to come visit me (but it would be immensely more practical for me to go there to see them).

Alas, I haven’t yet learned to bilocate. How handy that ability would be when seperated from the people you love!

I’ll be heading to ND late next week to begin summer #2 of Echo. I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! And, my greatest consolation is that one of my best friends, Meggie, will be with me in Echo this year!! MEGAN, I LOVE YOU!! Sylvie, I’m excited for you, too!!

Please pray for my family, especially for my parents’ health. Also, prayers for my sanity would be nice.

Love and Sunshine,

100 Book Challenge—Books #19-26

I’ve fallen behind in my blogging, so I thought I’d give a quick update on my reading challenge.

100 Book Challenge—Book #19 The Dairy and Gluten Free Kitchen  by Denise Jardine

Aunt Marie bought me this cookbook for my birthday this year and I loved it! It helped me find a lot more ways to cook gluten free. I’ve marked several recipes and hope to make them soon.

Book #20—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

How can anyone not love Little Women? I’ve never read it before, but I had seen the movie as a child. The book far outstrips anything a movie could give. I love the moral lessons and the religious nature of the novel, I hadn’t expected quite so much of it. I now see why it’s a classic book for little girls to read.

Book #21—Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Again, I hadn’t read the book before, but I’d seen the movie. It was my favorite movie as a kid (introduced to me by my Hannah) and that movie was my first introduction to Austen. I love Austen and am in a quick way of being a most devout fan. I’m now reading Pride and Prejudice.

Book #22—The Suicide Club by Robert Louis Stevenson

I had read this in high school, but the content had become fuzzy. A short novel, it’s a compilation of three short stories. It’s quite good and a fun read. A little confusing because of so many characters having code names, but I was reading it in the hospital while Dad was sick, so that might contribute to the confusion.

Book #23—One: How Many People does it take to make a difference? by Dan Zadra

Someone bought this for me for graduation and I finally got to sit down and read it through. This is a fantastic book, a good book to read when you’re down or questioning your importance in the world. It helped remind me that God made us all for a reason. I loved the book so much that I bought another book by the same author. See below.

Book #24—The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu

This was a book that has been sitting on my shelf for some time and I finally got around to reading it. It’s like a precursor to Percy Jackson (really, I have to wonder if Reardon got some ideas from Ursu). It features a set of cousins who must venture into the underworld to save the world. Great book, highly recommended.

Book #25—The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I have been wanting to read this book for sometime. I started it as a kid and never finished it. Finally got around to it and LOVED it! It’s a great mystery story. I had a lot of fun figuring out the ending. Lots of twists and turns, great characters, and a good story of redemption and giving back. Well written children’s book! Recommend.

Book #26—Five: Where will you be five years from today? by Dan Zadra

I loved this one just as much as One. I recommend it for those who are currently trying to discern their future. It helps focus. Also, great inspiration for making your bucket list.