Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Over the past few years I have developed an unhealthy dread of winter. Bitter cold. Brushing snow off my car (or worse, scraping ice off) every time I went to drive anywhere. Continually taking my boots on and off and carrying extra shoes in my big purse. Sliding through the occasional stop sign and feeling the pulse of the anti-lock brakes. What an annoying season! For a long time I was uneasy every fall, knowing what was ahead.

This year, though, I managed not to dread winter. Sure, it would be cold and snowy and annoying, but I'm a South Bend girl now and I know how to handle all that. I've polished my snow-driving skills so I am competent and confident traveling in the white stuff. I resigned myself to the four-times-daily brushing off of the car. I bought myself some cute boots and thought I was ready for winter.

But I wasn't ready for this winter.

It's been brutally cold, a lot. We've had BIG snowstorms, a lot. "Is it just me," I asked Anne the other day, "or are we having an uncommonly cold and snowy winter?"

"The weatherman was just saying that everything's actually been pretty normal," she told me. "The last few winters have been pretty mild."

My spirits plummeted and for just half a second I doubted my love for South Bend. I don't know if I can keep on enduring winters like this one ...

But when it comes down to it, it's still OK. Last night, driving home from women's group, I was reminded how much I love the way the South Bend sky glows during a snowstorm. Everything is quieter, too, and I felt surrounded by peacefulness. I might not like snow on my car, but I still love to watch the snow fall. And I got up today and remembered to budget five extra minutes for brushing off my car. And it wasn't even that cold. When it comes down to it, I really can manage to keep on going in the midst of all this.

I might just make it until spring.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

updates and miscellany

Uncle Jim will harass me if I go over a whole week without posting so I guess I better write something ...
  • the killer cold has subsided to a slight cough and as of yesterday I am not taking any meds! Though if you need some, I still have Benadryl, ibuprofen, benzonatate, and cough drops in my purse. Also Nyquil and promethazine DM in the medicine cabinet.
  • I started feeling so much better that I registered for a 10K trail run in Michigan in July. The guys (Justin, Kyle, Pete, and Pete) are doing a marathon up there and it's on an island and it looks like a ton of fun so Sarah and I are going to run too. Though not nearly so far. Personally though, I bet the guys run the marathon in a shorter time then I run the 10K.
  • Last night my household went to Stations of the Cross and soup supper at Holy Cross. All the coolest people in town were there: Sarah & her grandmother Helen, our next-door neighbor Anne, Veronica, Valerie and Larry ... it was a happening' place.
  • After soup supper it was time for another super-cool place, the Niles Wonderland Theater. Cheap tickets, cheap snacks, mediocre movie selection. After a 16-e-mail exchange throughout the day on the young adults list about what movie to go see, Sarah and the guys took in "Jumper" and Cat and I saw "Vantage Point." Which was an enjoyable movie, I liked finding out different parts of the puzzle from different people's views, but then at the end of the movie they abandoned their own method and it was just standard action with a too-long car chase and lots of things going on at once. Plus, Cat thinks I'm funny for minding this, but at this one point there's a terrorist sprinting up the back stairwell of this hotel where the president is staying and hello, they would totally have that guarded, he never would have made it up there. But whatever.
  • Two weeks to Minnesota. The group is taking a crazy road trip, weekend after next, we're leaving SB Thursday night and going all the way to the Twin Cities, hanging out with other young adults there for three days, then driving back Sunday afternoon/evening. It's going to be super-cool.
  • That's all for now. Have to go get ready and go out for coffee with Elizabeth, then cook Fusion Chicken for dinner, then hang out with friends and puppies later tonight ... have a good one everybody!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

dinner at Brian's house

Every Thursday we have dinner with our extended household - Marge, Beka, and Brian. It's a super-fun time full of conversations about (among other things) Trinity, vegetarianism, and Brian's dogs. This past week, we spiced up our routine a little bit by going over to Brian's house, and we had a ton of fun! Turns out Brian is a fabulous cook - dinner was scrumptious. We also got to enjoy his Christmas tree which was alive and well for Valentine's Day! After dinner we watched The Illusionist on Brian's humongous TV. Brian has five recliners in a row in front of the TV so we were all pretty comfy. Since I am still recovering from the killer cold, Brian also gave me some hot tea and a comforter straight out of the dryer. I got so comfy that I may not have been awake for the entire movie. But I definitely woke up when Brandy and Brutus, the legendary dogs, came in to meet us after the movie. Check out the photo where it looks like they're trying to bite Brian's head off. These dogs are huge! But they were cute. In a huge sort of way. In any case, the night was super-fun. Hooray for extended household!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

moments from THE DANCE

For the past several years, February means only one thing to me ... no, not Groundhog Day ... the Action Division Valentine's Dance. It's our biggest fundraiser of the year and we work on it for months and months beforehand. This year's dance was last night - here's how I experienced it ...

... the mother of all colds hit me the week before the dance, kept me out of work for two days, even kept me from making necessary phone calls because I lost my voice! Friday evening I hung out on the couch feeling wretched and wondering if I would really be OK for the dance. But praise God for cold medicine and adrenaline - I made it through the whole day without falling over (although I came close to not surviving the polka).

... I got to be in charge of beer, wine, and bartenders for the dance, despite the fact that normally I drink neither beer nor wine. Here's me at Belmont Beverage a week before the dance: "OK, I need to order five cases of wine, they told me to get Oak Vineyard ..." "I'm sorry miss, we don't have that brand, is there another that would be OK?" ... "I don't know ... I don't know anything about wine ..." Fortunately Citywide Liquor had what we needed, no questions asked. Meanwhile, one of the highlights of the bartender-recruiting experience was finding out that Rob and Suzanne and Tony and Nancy love to bartend! They acted like I was doing them a favor by asking them to spend half of the dance behind the bar. Praise God for people whose gifts and interests match our needs ...

... working with the Action kids is fun. During food prep yesterday morning I saw Patrick slicing a pepper slowly and awkwardly and went over to show him how to do it properly (I taught my brother how to do this too, a few years ago) and it was cute to see how relieved he was to see there was an easier way of doing it. Meanwhile Ben is an aspiring chef and volunteered to make several cheesecakes for the dance ... he hung in the doorway and watched as a few of us sampled a small piece, and was clearly quite pleased when we all oohed and aahed over how yummy it was. Calla reminded me of Monk, the obsessive compulsive detective, as she meticulously laid out lovely patterns of crackers on red plates.

... I wanted to dance and by golly, I danced. I ran back and forth between the kitchen and the dance all evening, trying not to slack off on work OR miss too much of the fun, so every time I was on a break I was not shy about asking (OK, telling) the guys to dance with me. I may have been a little too forward. Lately, in a lot of ways, I have been realizing how pushy I can be ... is pushy the right word? Maybe assertive ... maybe overly assertive ... in any case, later on in the dance I put my assertive personality to better use when I directed the guys to dance with the other girls. Some of the gals were standing around wanting to dance and the guys were standing around chatting. And honestly, you can chat anytime but how often do you have a live fifteen-piece band to dance to? So, "Dan, you need to go dance with Emily. Kyle, go get Beka. Justin, let's see, who needs to dance ..." And then stood back and watched, satisfied, as my gentlemanly friends took care of the ladies.

... and lots of people had a great time dancing so we renewed our late-summer discussion of how can we get out to dance more? Although most of hadn't danced since September, we were pretty good at remembering the she-goes, the he-goes, and the belt-loop, although the cuddle and the dishrag were a bit more difficult. Well, with my assertive personality you can be sure I'll get us dancing again soon, somehow, somewhere.

... I kind of forgot to eat dinner. I honestly don't know how I managed to work and dance from 6 PM until 1 AM on nothing but a latte and one bite of cheesecake, especially while fighting this killer cold. I am truly sincerely astounded.

... at the end of the dance everyone in Action gathered in the Oak Room and Matt told us that the fun really begins with cleanup. Oddly enough, it was true :) I had actually remembered to bring a stereo to liven up the kitchen atmosphere so we all packed leftovers and washed dishes while singing "Do you believe in magic, in a young girl's heart ..." Well personally I didn't sing because that would have given me a coughing fit, but it was fun all the same. One of the highlights of the entire evening was looking at the clean, empty kitchen and marveling at all the work we'd managed to do in there. I moved on to other odd jobs like rolling up long strips of red ribbon and just had a ball watching the high-schoolers get goofier and goofier as it got later and later. But they're a hard-working bunch and the dance that had taken several days to set up came down in two hours. Praise God.

... and then I slept until 11 AM. Praise God.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A bunch of us went to watch a Notre Dame hockey game last night. Super fun! Though personally, hanging out with Emily and Abby (the other two girls in last night's group) was more fun than actually watching the game. (Which ND won, by the way.)

Pay no attention to the hand. Abby is calling the game from the official (but unlocked) NCAA box behind the goal.