Friday, April 27, 2012

Haiku Friday

I awaken to
Seagull songs out my window.
God is my alarm.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grown woman.

It finally hit me this morning at around 7:15 am, Readers, as I was groggily scooping the grounds into my french press for my morning coffee.

I am no longer a girl. I can no longer call myself a girl. Heck, I can't even say that I'm in my mid-twenties anymore. I am 26 years old, which officially puts me into my late twenties. Yikes.

I sat down, poured a bit of vanilla coffee creamer into a mug, and waited for the chocolaty-brown mixture in the glass cylinder to steep.

I looked around my apartment, which, even by my usual unorganized standards, was jumbled and messy. Just ten hours before, I was overcome with the urge to reorganize my walk-in closet and two sets of dresser drawers. The wedding is coming up, and John and I will be moving in together soon. It was time to clean out the things that simply wouldn't fit into my new life (or new apartment). The small bench-like table at the foot of my white iron bed frame, along with the area of carpet around it, was morphing into a fabric/leather city-scape of sorts; towers of clothing and shoes that were designated as "keep", "donate", or "scrap material", were towering higher and higher, threatening to topple over if not dealt with.

I rubbed my eyes and sleepily grabbed an old reusable shopping bag (one that was starting to show wear and probably wouldn't last much longer), and started filling it with old shoes, being careful not to overfill it. Wouldn't want the bag to rip open. Or the handle to snap off. Or have a stiletto poke through the flimsy material as I'm walking toward the Lifelong Aids Alliance donation center. That wouldn't be good for the shoe OR the carrier of the bag.

As I was delicately placing each shoe in the bag, I started to notice how my taste in footwear has drastically changed during the past three years. The zebra-striped peep-toe stiletto heels went. The coral pink Ivanka Trump leather pumps stayed. The shiny silver snakeskin platform sandals with the zipper front went. The red TOM's canvas shoes with the leather sole stayed. The chocolate brown UGG boots went. The mustard yellow faux-leather pointed-toe flats stayed.

The worn material of the canvas bag began to pull dangerously. No more shoes in here. I looked around at the other items that I had earlier deemed unworthy of my apartment, and picked out lighter, fluffier things I could fill the bag with. A plush Care-Bear that I won playing the claw game during a road trip to the coast. A Princess Peach doll and a Naruto ninja headband, both bought at the 2006 San Diego Comic Con as souvenirs. A turquoise blue camisole that had a small bleach stain on it. A white fleece blanket that was taking up space. A few plastic ponies that I knew I could part with, and that would find homes with collectors within a week (collectors of 80's nostalgia are everywhere on Capitol Hill). A blue plastic Sleeping Beauty tiara, bought at Disneyland. Two goofy t-shirts that I bought a couple of summers ago to wear during my brief stint as a "Video Game Advisor" with GameStop, one that was electric yellow with Pikachu's smiling face on it, and a powder blue one featuring Navi the fairy, fluttering below a talk bubble that declared, "Hey! Listen!"

By now, the coffee was about to get cold. I took a break from filling the "donate bag", and poured myself a cup. The brew was stronger than I was used to. I won't let it steep as long next time.

My workday doesn't start until 10:30. I could be sleeping in, if I wanted to. But I like being up early. I like the peacefulness of Seattle during the early hours of the day, when people are just waking up and the streets are relatively quiet, save for the occasional seagull or car passing by.

I added some more coffee creamer to the cup, to try and soften my coffee's unusually bitter taste.

As I sipped on the morning brew, waiting patiently for the caffeine to course through my veins, I leaned back in the small wooden chair and considered the bag of shoes/clothing/toys that are about to leave my life. And I smiled.

I am a twenty-six year old woman. One who has once went out dancing in zebra-striped peep toe stiletto shoes. One who has sold video games while wearing a Pikachu t-shirt. One who has been to the Comic Book Convention and seen Stan Lee get escorted to his keynote by eight guys in storm trooper costumes. One who had actually WON something from one of those evil claw machines.

It's a hard thing to put into words, Readers, what exactly was going through my head as I was looking at that bag. I was feeling nostalgic and sentimental, but I was also glad to see the things go. I'm a professional woman. I'm a receptionist, yes, but a professional woman just the same. I am a choir director. I am an activist. I am a blogger. I am about to be a wife. As of now, I have no need for cosplay pieces, Disney Princess tiaras, ridiculously provocative shoes, or toys. I like them. I am VERY glad that I once had them. But, in the grand scheme of things, I no longer have the need for them.

The most important thing is the MEMORIES. I will always, ALWAYS cherish the memory of the night I went dancing in those shoes, when I met my soon-to-be husband. I will always laugh at the memory of the Comic Con, where I learned how to play the Pokemon Card game and kissed a Pikachu mascot on the cheek. I will always smile when I remember how much I loved Disney's Sleeping Beauty as a little girl.

Memories are more precious than any possession, piece of clothing, trinket, or toy. And, memories do not take up shelving space or gather dust.

I got up from the table, showered, and dressed for the day. Black stockings, mustard yellow dress, black belt, eggplant purple cardigan, navy blue blazer.

Gone are the days when my wardrobe almost entirely consisted of high heels, short skirts, and glittery tank tops. Gone are the days when I could get a drink for free simply by bending over. Gone are the days when I'd stay out all night dancing, and then stagger back home, arm in arm with my sister, as the sun just started to peek over Puget Sound. Back then, John would occasionally call me his "Wild Rose".

This "Wild Rose" is happy to be domesticated.

I finished dressing, and moved into my living room where I have my vanity set up. As I pulled my hair back and applied my make-up, I looked over and saw the files organized in my bookshelf, labeled, "2011 taxes", "401K info", "Insurance Forms", and "Grad School Apps".

Gone are the days when I depended on my dad to help me with my tax return. Gone are the days when I was blissfully unaware of my need to save up for retirement. Gone are the days when I relied on others to dictate what direction my life would take. Gone are the days when I was still a little girl, depending on others.

I no longer have the luxury of playing the part of an "innocent little girl". I also no longer have the luxury of playing the part of the "Wild Rose".  And you know what, Readers? I love it. I've written before that I LOVE being a grown up. But what's even better is knowing that I'm a grown woman, and having very fond memories of my days as a "Wild Rose" and as an "Innocent Girl".

I'm not going to lie, Readers. I will occasionally look back and wish that I could be a young, wild thing, or an innocent girl who can be taken care of, forever. Still, the truth is that I'm settling down. I'm going to be starting my own family. I will be a mother someday, and need to be strong in order to help my own child grow and be a part of the world.
However...

I will always keep a little bit of the Innocent Girl and the Wild Rose close.





<3

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sweater concepts

Hullo again, my dear Readers!

First of all, I wanted to thank those of you who have sent my family messages of love and support regarding my mom's chemo. She did beautifully, and will be going in for another round in a couple of weeks. As of now, things are going VERY WELL.

I'm proud to say that I FINALLY finished knitting the second half of the space-invaders afghan. I will post pictures once the whole piece is sewn together and finished.

Now that I've got one of the BIG projects out of the way (mostly), I thought it would be fun to return to the idea of creating my own knitting patterns.

I've always admired a smart, nice-fitting, ladylike sweater. After perusing the Internet and knitty.com, I came up with a couple of ideas for a modified drop-shoulder cardigan:



Wee strawberries? Yay!
 Doesn't necessarily need to be strawberries. Wee pears, apples, cherries...I dunno if this is my inner old lady coming out, but I love prints that feature itty-bitty fruits <3

Ideally, I'd like the pattern to keep the "polka-berries" as tiny as possible. I KNOW that this will be a challenge...but I'm confident that after some trial and error, SOMETHING will come out of it, even if it turns out to be an entirely different garment! Another instarsia project? Perhaps this is simple enough for fair isle? Or should I embroider the berries/pears/apples whatever over the finished knitted fabric?

Only time will tell, Readers! Stay tuned!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Canvas Bag and a Prayer Request

Hello, Readers.

I've got two things I'd like to blog about today.

First of all, at last, I bring you a finished project.

That, Readers, is a home-made canvas bag.

A few weeks ago, I was overcome with the urge to crochet more lace to add onto my lace mountain (which, because most of the lace pieces have been given away as Christmas gifts, is more of a lace molehill as of late). I resisted the urge to get the organic mo-hair lace weight material, and instead opted for the cheaper, more "environmentally friendly" option: the Aunt Lydia Bamboo thread. I liked this stuff: it was soft, easy to work with, and was a lovely shade of ecru.

I made a doily (along with a couple of others, but I will post those later), and tossed it in my Rubbermaid container designated for finished pieces that have yet to be "blocked". I liked the doily, but it just looked a little bit too, I dunno, "Grandma's Knick-Knack Cabinet" to be set out by itself.

Later, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a free sewing pattern for a basic canvas shopping bag. The pattern can be found here:

http://sewing.about.com/od/bagstotespurseproject/ss/grocerybag.htm

At last! Something I can use these doilies for! I went to my favorite fabric shop (Stitches in Seattle) to pick up the canvas fabric and notions, came home, dragged out Dumpy and went to work furiously measuring, cutting, pinning, and sewing! After the bag itself was finished, I pinned the doily on and appliqued it as best as I could (it wouldn't lay as flat as I'd like, so in some places the doily kind of looks like it's folding over on itself).

The bag isn't perfect, but is one of my better sewing projects (Readers, remind me later to write about the disaster that was the Princess Daisy dress). I'm definitely going to make more.

I also wanted to ask for prayers, Readers.

My mother is going in for infusion therapy (aka chemotherapy) tomorrow.

As some of you know, my mother has been living with Sjogren's syndrome and Sub acute Cutaneous Lupus since I was a teenager. Essentially, her body's immune system can no longer distinguish what to attack...so her white blood cells attack everything. To treat this, her doctors are giving her a drug called Rituximab, which has been shown to have promising results when used to treat autoimmune disorders.

The side effects of the drug are not pretty. As I wrote above, this is chemotherapy. My mom has been firing on all cylinders to try to diffuse my "freak out" moments in regards to her health, but I have google at my disposal and I know what this drug does. Essentially she'll be feeling like a cancer patient does when getting chemo.

My mom blogs about life with auto-immune disease here.
http://reasonablywell-julia.blogspot.com/

Keep her in your prayers, Readers, if you pray.

<3

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A what what?

Good afternoon, my dear Readers.

Well, another Easter has come and gone. And what a wonderful Easter it was.

I helped my parish with the music for our Easter Vigil service. The service was beautiful, moving, and helped me recharge my spiritual battery. I expected nothing less.

After the vigil mass ended, I piled in the car with my fiance and his roommate so we could celebrate Easter Sunday with my family. It was great to sleep in my childhood bed again...simply being in the house I grew up in brings me a sweet peacefulness that nothing else quite can.

We played pool, baked ham, hid Easter eggs for my tiny cousins, and generally just chilled.

Also, I found myself commandeering my 4 month old cousin's plush dinosaur and singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" to him through it.

We returned that evening, refreshed and rested.
I returned to work feeling renewed and cheerful.

Until I opened up the news and saw this.


That is a statue of the Virgin Mother holding Jesus. Image found here:http://loku.com/content/seattles-st-james-cathedral-vandalized
 Readers, as a few of you might be aware, St. James Cathedral was hit by vandals the night before Easter Sunday.

The picture doesn't show it, but Mary had a big red pitchfork spray painted on her. Along with that, there were hateful (albeit quite strange and nonsensical) messages left all over the outer walls of the cathedral.

How horrid is that??? WHO DOES THAT? My first gut reaction was to go into Hulk Smash Mode, demanding that whoever is responsible be caught, publicly shamed, and made to clean up every drop of paint...I was angry, SO ANGRY! But then, I actually took the time to read what it was the vandals wrote:


*blink* A what what? Image found here: http://loku.com/content/vandals-hit-st-james-cathedral-on-easter-morning


...............what?

"The Catholic Church was not born in the U.S.A."

Um...well...no.

No it was not "born in the U.S.A."

You are correct.

Catholicism dates back to the first century, and has long outlived the good ol' stars and stripes, many, MANY years over...the fact that this person honestly thought that pointing out that Catholicism is not an American institution would sway people away or intimidate them away...just shows that they probably don't know their rear end from their elbow.

Immediately after reading that, I went from "Hulk Smash Mode" to "Holy Crap that is So Pitiful that I'm Laughing At Computer Screen And My Coworkers are Looking At Me As If I'd Lost My Mind Mode".

After actually reading the...what should I call it..."non-sequitur" that the vandal left, my anger just evaporated, and turned to pity for this poor, anonymous soul. Obviously, the unfortunate individual responsible for the vandalism has the brain capacity of a bowl of Froot Loops.

How does one react to this? I know that there are QUITE a few parishioners foaming at the mouth regarding this (I can't honestly blame them, though), some even going as far as declaring this a "hate crime". But come on, you guys...this poor sap probably couldn't help that he/she wasn't blessed with an IQ greater than that of a small insect. While I'm okay with finding the person and charging them with vandalism, can the law honestly charge a person with being dumb?

Sigh. Some people.

I wish I could say that this is an isolated incident, but sadly, this is the second time this month that the church has been vandalized in this manner. The cathedral is vandalized ALL THE TIME. Part of it is just a reality of being in a densely populated urban environment...another part of it is that Catholics tend to be an "easy target" for tom-foolery. Long story short, people can be dumb, and people can be dicks.

The message boards and comment sections of the Times and other news publications have been going nuts. A few Catholics are playing the "I'M BEING PERSECUTED!" card, which honestly, Readers, makes me raise an eyebrow.

Generally speaking, Readers, I don't believe that Catholics are "Persecuted" in the U.S.  Nearly every Catholic I have ever met has NEVER been "Persecuted". What we are looking at in the above photos is NOT "Persecution". It's a simple case of stupidity that was probably fueled with one too many cans of PBR.

As a practicing Catholic, I occasionally get nasty remarks, weird looks, and the occasional dollop of downright ignorant horse-crap ("You OBVIOUSLY are worshiping false idols! BECAUSE THERE'S A STATUE OF MARY IN YOUR ROOM!" is one example I get QUITE frequently,) but I have never, EVER been in fear of my personal safety as a result of being a Catholic. There is a big difference between a person being a jerk to you and a person persecuting you.

I have always believed that religious persecution begins when a person's safety is compromised as a result of that person practicing their own spirituality.

Jews being mass-murdered was persecution. A person being rude to you because you worship differently than they do is not.

I just...can't be too angry with this individual. I'm going to hazard a guess that it's not entirely their fault...perhaps they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Were they raised by Klansmen? Or were they simply very disturbed, and wanted something, ANYTHING to take the blame for the problems of the world?

Do I want the vandals found? Yes. Do I think that it's worth it to drag them out, shame them, and make a huge spectacle? Not really. In a way, the vandalism really brought about Easter's true meaning: forgiveness of sin.

Christ died to forgive everyone's sins. Even those of the vandals.

Plus, as of Monday, nearly all of the graffiti had been removed by volunteers.

I was happy to read that Archbishop Sartain publicly forgave the vandals, and is keeping them in his prayers. Northwest Cable News ran a good story about the whole shanda, you can find it here:
http://www.nwcn.com/home/Vandals-hit-St-James-Cathedral-on-Easter-morning-146599645.html

It's tough, Readers, when something like this happens to something that you hold so dear. It really is.

But all in all, there are more important things than statues and cathedral walls.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Haiku Friday

The wood of the cross
weeps as His blood spills on it.
The seed is planted.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Last Supper

Good evening, Readers.

Tonight is Holy Thursday. Christians everywhere recognize tonight as the night that Jesus was condemned to die.

It was tonight that inspired Leonardo DaVinci to create one of the most iconic images in religious art: The Last Supper.

Readers, from the left to the right we have Bartholomew, James (son of Alphaeus), Andrew, Judas Iscariot, Peter, John, Jesus, Thomas, James the Greater, Phillip, Matthew, Jude Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot. Image found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Supper
As iconic as the above image is, I think that it's important that we remember what this was actually depicting. DaVinci was capturing the reactions of the disciples when Christ announces that his betrayer is among them.


So, Readers, in remembrance of Holy Thursday, I bring you the greatest lampoons of this Masterpiece. I must note that while I was doing my search, I was overcome by giggle-fits...May God have mercy on my soul.

I don't get it. Is Han Solo supposed to be the Judas figure? Image found here: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/star-wars/images/3967082/title/star-wars-last-supper-wallpaper
Arg...again with the weird Judas character! Cloud Strife doesn't strike me as a betrayer...and Sonic is NOT who I would cast as St. Peter!...Image found here: http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/712302/videogame-last-supper-nugget-from-the-net/
My fiance and I got into an argument as to Cookie Monster's character. WOULD he betray Big Bird? John thinks so. Image found here:  http://culturepopped.blogspot.com/2007/04/suddenly-last-supper.html
Peeps. Image found here: http://videogoneviral.com/2011/04/25-alternative-takes-on-the-last-supper/

Pluto knows Mickey's on to him. Image also found here: http://videogoneviral.com/2011/04/25-alternative-takes-on-the-last-supper/



aaand, last but not least:

...I got nothin. Also found here: http://videogoneviral.com/2011/04/25-alternative-takes-on-the-last-supper/
Have a blessed evening, Readers!