Theme Thursday: Celebration!

When Cari first posted today’s theme, I admit to a certain amount of grumbling.  I had no idea WHAT I could photograph for celebration.  Sure, it would be almost Easter, almost the Triduum, but since my family travels for holidays, there wouldn’t be much in terms of photographable preparation.

And then hockey happened, and all my troubles were lifted.

This is the final year of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s existence.  Several of the conference’s teams will be joining the brand, spanking new Big Ten Hockey League next year.  Some will be joining some other new league.  My own Fighting Irish will be joining Hockey East, which makes no sense geographically, but is FANTASTIC in terms of actual hockey.

Knowing that it was at the end of its life, the CCHA decided to focus on the good times instead of the dark future.  This last season was draped in the tagline “Celebrate the Legacy” and nowhere was this history more evident than at the last ever championship this weekend.

My dad & I went to see Notre Dame beat Ohio State in the semifinals at the Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit on Saturday, and we went back on Sunday to see them beat the University of Michigan Wolverines.  It was to that final championship final that I brought my camera.

You can see highlights from the game here, and the video of the celebration (in which you can clearly see my father & me in the stands) is here.

ceremonial puck drop with team captains, current & original commissioners

ceremonial puck drop with team captains, current & original commissioner

the crowd overwhelmingly favored the Wolverines and ERUPTED when UM scored first

the crowd overwhelmingly favored the Wolverines and ERUPTED when UM scored first

the celebration after ND's second goal

the celebration after ND’s second goal

go Irish!

go Irish! LOVE the shiny gold helmets!

the final buzzer sounds, and with a final score of 3-1, the Irish win the last ever CCHA championship

the final buzzer sounds, and with a final score of 3-1, the Irish win the last ever CCHA championship

the kind of celebratory action moms dread

the kind of celebratory action moms dread (but they cleaned up after themselves eventually)

the Mason Cup is Notre Dame's forever... on to the NCAA tournament!

the Mason Cup is Notre Dame’s forever… on to the NCAA tournament!

Thanks again for hosting, Cari!

7 Quick Takes: The Irish Catholic Sports Fan Edition

Jennifer Fulwiler hosts the 7 Quick Takes, and once again, I join everybody else on the Internet.

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So I’ve been trying to get myself onto a sleep schedule that is more amenable to family life, and more amenable to jobs that make you show up to work before noon.  I have been doing this with reasonable success this week, but for whatever reason, today I feel like I’ve been hit with a truck.  Bring. On. The coffee.

And don’t talk to me if you see me online after 11:30pm EST.  Make me go to bed.

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One of the positive parts about moving back to Michigan is HOCKEY!  I’m a big hockey fan in a region that loves it, and the last championship tournament of the CCHA is this weekend in downtown Detroit.  I had paragraphs of information I could present about the situation, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.  Suffice to say, Notre Dame is playing Ohio State in the conference semi-finals tomorrow, and I get to go.  If they win, I get to go to the championship on Sunday.

Go Irish!

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Speaking of the Fighting Irish,  the men’s basketball team plays their round of 64 game tonight.  I really hope they win, because they’re my team, and because my bracket says they will.  Granted, my bracket does not say they will win very many games, but if I get to choose between winning my bracket pools and Notre Dame winning its first ever Final Four championship, it would not be a difficult decision.  I’m only playing for bragging rights either way; might as well end up with the good ones.

Addendum: The Notre Dame WOMEN’S basketball team is probably going to win it all.  They’re consistently awesome like that.

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One more take of Notre Dame fanclubiness and then I’m moving on I PROMISE.  This is a goofy one, and an opportunity to vote, so all of you Twitter-happy ND folk, might enjoy it.

Her Loyal Sons, my favorite ND football (and occasionally other sports) fan blog did a recap of the Twitter reactions for each football game of the season.  Now, they’re pitting the 64 “best” tweets against each other, tournament style.  Winners in each match-up are determined by popular vote, so get on over there and help out.

Trust me… there’s nothing like ND men’s basketball to make you miss ND football.

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YES.  This is the part where we move on.

This is SUCH an exciting time to be Catholic.  Pope Francis is breathing life into everything he does.  Did you hear that he accepted an invitation to visit Iraq?  The head of the Chaldean church, His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, asked Francis to come visit Iraqi Christians, and speak as well to Iraqi Muslims about interfaith dialogue.  Apparently, Francis said he would. 

I just keep encountering so many warm and loving descriptions of the Holy Father, so many joyous stories, so many hopeful Christians!  It’s as though his elevation to Pope has Catholics the world over taking a good deal of pride in their association with him as head of the Church.  I pray that Francis may really be the source of good that he seems to be in these early days.

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Living with my parents means I have access to all kinds of retro pictures!  Here’s one of my favorites.

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I’m helping my great-grandfather dig up potatoes.  I remembered this photo last weekend, because one of the pearls of wisdom Grandpa made sure to leave behind was that you should always get your potatoes in the ground by St. Patrick’s Day.

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I’m running in a marathon relay!  And you can help support me, and even better, one of my favorite nonprofit organizations!  This will get its own full post later today, but for now check out the PULSE marathon page.

Theme Thursday: Mud

It snowed today.

Not enough to accumulate, mind you, but enough to gather in the creases of my coat and pile on the top of the pink hoodie I snuggled into as I stood outdoors messing around with a broken camera.

I don’t know why, but the autofocus on my point-and-shoot isn’t working today.  It doesn’t have the option to manual focus.

So I went back inside to get my cell phone, because dang it, I was going to take a picture of this frozen mud.

Since Cari’s photography tips focused on perspective this week, I thought I’d put my own spin on things.  So I present to you two pictures of a garden in winter, one overview and one reeeeeal close up.

Don’t forget to go see all the others at Clan Donaldson!

A Garden in Winter (two days after expected vacancy)

A Garden in Winter (two days after expected vacancy)

and reeeeeeal up close

and reeeeeeal up close

EDIT: BONUS MUD!

Since the pictures of my frozen backyard aren’t the most exciting in the world, I wanted to share this classic from summer 2010.  It is the reason I now have a running habit, and it is the muddiest I have ever been since reaching the age of reason… or the age of majority, at least.

My friends & family really know how to have a good time.

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Introspection Works Better With Help

The process of vacating a bad job, packing up everything you own and moving back in with your parents provides many opportunities to identify and confront your weaknesses.

In order to reach a place where I was willing to give up on my position in ministry, I had to accept that acquiring the skills necessary to do a thoroughly good job was beyond me, or at least required more effort than it was worth.  This involved admitting a significant amount of failure.  While some of the failure could maybe belong to other people, or even the institution at large, when it comes time to finding a career that works better for me, I had to consider that the problem was me.  I don’t want to go through this process again if I can avoid it, so let’s just assume that the problem is me, and won’t be going anywhere.  How do I avoid it in the future?

Continue reading

7 Quick Takes: D-Day

Thanks as always to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the Friday classic, 7 Quick Takes.

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So, I’m moving today.  Yay?

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Because of the craziness of a week packed with my boyfriend’s 2-day long MA exam, packing up everything I own, and saying goodbye to a few people, I never quite got a post up for yesterday’s Theme Thursday with Cari over at Clan Donaldson.  So, here is a photo on the theme of green (and that all important pop of red!), taken on my recent trip to Kansas.

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Perhaps there will be some more green pictures after I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.

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I’ve been participating in the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge over at White House Black Shutters.  Does moving count as decluttering?  Because my whole apartment will be totally decluttered 12 hours from now when I don’t live here anymore.

In all seriousness, though, moving back in with my parents does require a certain amount of downsizing.  While I have rented a storage unit for some of the larger pieces of furniture, I have also thrown out about a dozen bags of trash and donated or sold a similar amount of still-usable stuff.  That’s just from my ginormous apartment.  I’ve also deep-cleaned my bedroom at my parents’ place for the first time since I moved into it back in middle school.  We won’t get into how many bags that took.

Of course I’m not done yet.  But it’s good enough for moving day.

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One more photo, because I went to the Oz Museum without any Whovians, and there was no one to appreciate my horror when I saw this and went “UGH, it’s a Smiler!”

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Somebody who reads my blog must also love Doctor Who, right?

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This video is funny and depressing all at once, kind of like my week.  It’s a little inappropriate (only a little), but so well done.  I hope you’ve already seen it, but if not:

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AHHHHH NEW POPE NEW POPE NEW POPE!

I had to wait until the last take, because I can’t write about this without becoming a gibbering mess of incoherent excitement.  Our first Pope Francis!  And I got alerted by texts and watched the live stream and I am determined to find some way to be at the Vatican for a future conclave.

All the Catholic love that day was AMAZING and it’s totally buoying me up on this difficult week.

And on that note, back to the packing.  If any of you find yourselves in Metro Detroit, come say hi. 🙂

A Bit of Complaint (OUCH)

There is no rice left in my apartment.

I tied up about half of what had been left into a handkerchief, shoved it in a microwave and applied it to my cripplingly painful lower back muscles.  I saved the other half so I could wrap it up in another handkerchief  to apply to my not-quite-as-painful shoulders.

Until I dropped my phone into the sink.

Do you ever have one of those moments when you know you are doing too much at once and that something is bound to go wrong, but you don’t quite see how to stop?  I definitely had that moment earlier.  I was trying to finish up the last of some important dishes while the friend I was meeting for lunch was driving down my street, trying to get directions to just exactly where my apartment was.  I really, really needed to finish the dishes before my friend got to me.  I also really needed to tell her how to get to me.  So the phone was between my ear and shoulder as I scrubbed…

Until it was in the sink.

So now, the last of my rice is covering my cell phone, and my cell phone battery, in the hopes of drawing out all the moisture and salvaging my pretty. This is how I feel this week is going in a nutshell.  There are too many places I need to be, too many things I need to be doing, and I am just too beat up to do any of them.

I am moving on Friday, back into my parents’ house in Michigan.  I have no space to process this emotionally, because I have to process everything I own.  Meanwhile, my boyfriend is having something of a crazy work week, which I have luckily been able to help with a little, but it means that he’s not able to help me until later in the week.

All of this, I think I could handle, if it wasn’t for that darn back pain.  This is a week that needs a lot of movement.  Walking back and forth, squatting, reaching, lifting and so many other things are aggravating my strained back (Guess how I probably hurt my back in the first place).  Why does it seem as though God gives us the biggest challenges just when we’re craving a goshdarn break?

It’s probably a matter of perspective.  When I’m doing well, I don’t notice the challenges as much.  When I’m feeling low, the challenges become mountains in comparison.

So I try to make mountains out of the good things as well.  The friend who joined me for lunch came to share her own uncertain joy at the next step in her own pursuit of vocation (pray for her as she becomes a postulant with a religious order that seems a great fit for her next week!).  My friend Craig was available to assist me from afar in my time of technical crisis.

Plus, no matter where I physically relocate, all my Internet friends will still be able to find me right here.  No change of address for this blog!

Theme Thursday: Piles

Alternative title?  Theme Thursday: Day Late, Dollar Short.

This post will perhaps be worth the full price of admission, but I myself am feeling a bit worse for wear.  I’m too exhausted to do the math necessary to say for sure, but I might very well have spent more time in my car this week than out of it.  A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but I have stepped foot in seven states since I last posted.

I was taking a wide variety of photos on my travels, hoping that whatever Thursday’s Theme would be over at Clan Donaldson, I would be ready.  I admit to a certain mild disappointment when I realized that this was one theme my apartment could have totally rocked.

Instead, I present you with photos of piles from Mill Creek Antiques in Paxico, Kansas.  Antiquing really creates some great visuals!

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