Monthly Archives: January, 2009

Friday Five: How Much Do Your Dreams Cost?

I’m a few days late, but hopefully no dollars short.

  1. What would you do right now, if money were not an issue?Does paying off my student and car loans count? If not, then I’d fly in friends from home for a weekend. They’re mostly still on break, which makes me feel like such a grown-up. A grown-up who lives far away from some of her best friends (present community members who might be reading this excluded, of course).
  2. What would you do for the next three years, if money were not an issue?The last time I answered this question was about this time last year, actually, and look at me now.
  3. What is bringing you the most joy right now that requires little or no money?My community is awesome, and curiously, I don’t have to pay them to support and love me like they do. This is turning into a really ACE-centric F5.
  4. What types of things do you find enjoyable that require no money?I still love reading. The two books I have in progress right now are one I got for free at FOCUS Conference and a gift from Fr. Kyle, so they’re even better than library books.
  5. Is there anything you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but put off because of money?Until this summer, I would have said “getting a car.” Now it’s probably getting a new computer; mine’s aging rapidly in the world of Vista and the new MS Office.

via F5 @ LJ

Systems Normal

Two days into the new semester, I am actually feeling okay. I can’t say I feel more experienced or wiser. The kids are still their rambunctious, impossible selves. I’m still making mistakes all the time. I’m fairly sure I had days like this last quarter. Two things have changed, though. First and most significant is that I don’t have a solid wall of weeks full of days like these (or worse–often worse). It was hard to go so long without a good break.

Second is that I’m doing my best to have a new attitude. I go in knowing that some things will be unbelievably bad, but if I don’t let it get to me, I will be okay. The kids make fun of me, and I let it roll off my back. I make a big mistake, and I just keep on doing what I can. I know I’m not a good teacher yet; I’m still trying to maintain adequacy. I haven’t given up, though, and that is grace.

I also know that I need to record this so that when (not if) the bad days return, I have something to remind me that it genuinely isn’t always so bad.

Home Again

I leave home tomorrow afternoon. In some ways, I am absolutely ready to go home–to my new home, my ACE home. I needed a break, but I’m ready to go back.

I’ve really appreciated the time to work (which I will resume for a little while after I post this) while not having to go to work. I managed to get my lessons planned for tenth grade for the next two weeks! This is a substantial accomplishment, especially after the semester I had. I set up my grade book for next quarter and my attendance record for next semester. In the process, I accidentally deleted some important files, but that just means I’ll have to cart home some papers to scan. I ran across a couple of PDF-to-text converters that might come in handy. I read almost all the stories I want to teach my ninth-graders for the next month or so, including the ones for my ACE-required unit. I still have plenty to work on (like managing the paper load), but I think I have hope again.

I have had fabulous times with my friends over break. The day after I flew in, I went to Guy and Becca’s Christmas party, where I got to see Scott for the first time since…last year’s Secret Santa! I left there and went straight (and technically late) to Kaitlyn’s graduation party to see all my CSC friends. I told Chris S. about my difficulties, admitting that community became more important than anything else. He, in his new seminary-informed wisdom, suggested that God might have been teaching me the importance of community through those very experiences.

Last Saturday, I went out to see the National Christmas Tree with Guy and Becca (Picasa-patched photos forthcoming). I commented on the Metro ride in that I was finally feeling like a normal person again. It wasn’t just swiping my Metro SmarTrip card that did it. It was chatting with old friends, doing something fun, and not feeling strangled by my teaching life. I didn’t have to be Miss W. anymore. I could be just Lindsay, and that was good enough.

On Monday, I met Jim at the Shrine for daily Mass. I make it a point to go to one daily Mass when I’m home over Christmas break, usually on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, but that was suppressed for the Holy Family this year. So, when he suggested meeting for Mass, it fit quite nicely into my plans. I got there just in time for benediction. I hadn’t expected it at all; I always thought they did exposition after Mass on Friday, but it’s before on Mondays. And I had just been thinking about the Divine Praises that morning. I skipped a line while reciting it during benediction (“Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother”), but I remembered “Tantum Ergo” quite well. Mass was fabulous, as always. We went back to CP for lunch and much-anticipated conversation.

After I left Jim, I picked up Maura and wound up back at the Shrine. I showed her the rosary windows in the apses of the Upper Church, and I got a closer look at some of the shrines on that level. There’s so much majesty to the Shrine that it’s impossible to take it all in at once, and difficult even over time. It’s the Catholic Smithsonian.

New Year’s Eve in College Park was lovely. Jim hosted the party on behalf of his current and former housemates. I got to see even more old friends, meet his new girlfriend, play Catchphrase and Apples to Apples, and ring in 2009 feeling like a real twenty-two-year-old.

Family time has been a little difficult, as it always is. I’ve become such a different person than I was when I lived here full-time, but my family’s the same. Even if that means I should come back more, that’s not possible right now. I know family is essential. I do love them. I think I’m only beginning to understand now that you can never go home again.

Friday Five: Wasting My Time

These questions are fairly weak, but I’m trying to build back up my blogging habits. Blogging is still writing. I don’t want to lose my love for writing.

  1. What is your biggest waste of time in your home? I spend a lot of time walking across the house to fetch things or find people. It’s not wasted time, though, because moving around keeps me the tiniest bit active, and it helps me stay awake as the night wears on.
  2. When at work, what is the activity that you find wastes the most time? My principal has told us that it’s “not an option” to stand in the hallway outside our doors while the students are changing classes. I rarely do it, and no one has called me on it. I usually spend the time transitioning between classes (erasing, opening different textbooks), which I think is a better use of my time than watching students walk by. I get out there when I can, but it’s relatively rare.
  3. I’m skipping the third question because it’s not applicable and inappropriate.
  4. What is the biggest waste of time on the Internet? Getting lost in links. The Internet is such an enormous place that it’s very easy to click from link to link to link, not realizing that hours are passing underneath you.
  5. What do you do at a restaurant to waste time when waiting for your meal? I don’t think of it as wasting time, but I usually just continue the conversations that were going on as soon as I sat down. Restaurants are good for delicious food, but the conversation is usually better.

via the Friday Five @ LJ

Deadly Sins: Round Two

Happy new year! I rang in 2009 at a fabulous party last night, so I caught up with the next two episodes of the History Channel’s Seven Deadly Sins tonight: gluttony and sloth. As I suspected (after writing and publishing my last post, unfortunately), watching a few more episodes gave me a more balanced view of the series, even if the content is still unbalanced.

Gluttony was referred to as “the most paradoxical” of the seven deadly sins, the paradox being that eating is a necessity of life. Gluttony is so easy to commit that it was made to seem foolish that simply eating or drinking too much could be so wrong. There was even discussion of a hormone, lectin, that is underproduced by people with a certain genetic defect, and which causes overeating because of the inability of sufferers to realize that they aren’t facing a famine. Even if that distressingly obese mouse proves that lectin is to blame in some cases, sin is still sin. Extreme overindulgence shows a lack of discipline and respect for food and the body. It’s an easy sin to commit, but so is all sin. “Everybody’s doing it” is a lousy excuse across the board.

Sloth was “the most insidious” of sins. I think this was the best episode yet. Instead of outright criticism of Pope Gregory for conflating acedia and tristitia into the one sin of sloth to “make room” for another, the various critics examined how the two sides of sloth are different. I think of acedia as spiritual laziness. Acedia is the negative spirit that just doesn’t do anything. It’s laziness and opposition toward work or exertion of any kind. Tristitia is closer to despair and hopelessness. I felt that the show’s producers handled the questions of medically-diagnosed depression, suicide, and moral loss of faith very well. They left it open to the viewer to decide how to understand sloth, as sin or science.

As I watched tonight, I thought about the previous episodes and their seeming ignorance of the nature of sin. Never in the four episodes I’ve seen (all that have aired so far; it’s a new series) has anyone defined sin. It’s a standard expository procedure: you have to define your terminology. If you don’t understand what sin is, it’s clearly impossible to figure out why these seven are so deadly. There was never a comparison of these “deadly sins” to the non-deadly ones–or an acknowedgement, even if only lexical, that there are non-deadly (read: venial) sins. I’m eager to see how anger, greed, and especially pride pan out, and if the History Channel will ever (try to) tell me what sin is.

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