Tag Archives: holidays

Not Just Waiting

I miss something I’ve never actually had. It’s kind of a confusing feeling, but I’m used to it by now. I attend Mass primarily with people around my grandmother’s age, and I’m one of about seven people who attend weekly Adoration. When we sing, I’m one of the only people who sings loudly, and I don’t sing nearly as loudly as I want to. At the Easter Mass, when the priest says, “He is risen,” and we’re supposed to repeat it triumphantly, he just repeats himself because no one says anything. We’re so used to the fact that Christ is risen that it sounds like old news. It’s not old news.

I miss the joy and triumph I know people once had. I think to a lot of people, church feels like an annoying obligation. If that weren’t the case, and if people really believed what we say we believe, we’d be louder, and Reading would be a much more Christian town. Yesterday I was teaching the kids about Advent. I had watched a video done by Bishop Robert Barron about the kingship of Jesus, and about how Advent should be about preparing for the King. I asked the kids how we might prepare for a king. They didn’t really have a concrete answer, and I realized, neither did I. I call Jesus my King, but I’m realizing that I might not exactly know what that means.

I’ve fairly recently started praying the Rosary daily. I learned how to do it a while ago, but I’ve only started to get serious about doing it within the past couple of weeks. That was when I learned that demons don’t like it one bit, and that it was just a very powerful prayer in general. At first, I have to admit, it did feel a bit mechanical. Now, I can do it really without even thinking so much about what I’m actually saying, and just focus on each of the mysteries. Just within the past few days, the Lord has given me some good stuff to think about. I’ve just been doing them in circular order, so last night I did the Sorrowful Mysteries. I hate it, but last night I realized that Jesus hurts with us when we hurt and I have no way of repaying him. As I write this, though, I’m realizing that maybe praying through his Passion is my way of hurting with him.

Yesterday I read a post entitled “Love Hurts.” It makes you vulnerable, and if you’re willing to be vulnerable, you have to be willing to let your heart be broken. I wrote in one of my stories that a broken heart has to be given away to be fixed. Two or three weeks ago, the Gospel reading at church was about when the king separates the “goats” from the “sheep,” in other words, the unrighteous from the righteous. He says to the righteous that they took care of him when he was alone, or sick, or lonely, or in need, and they say they have no idea what he’s talking about, and he says that if they did it for any of the “little guys,” they did it for him. Likewise, he says that if the unrighteous didn’t do these things, they didn’t do it for him. I hate this parable because there’s not a whole lot of practical stuff I can do to help the “little guys.”

I sulked for a day, thinking I was going to Hell for sure, and then I don’t remember what brought me to this conclusion, but I read something, or saw a video, or something, that basically led me to realize that Jesus expects us to give him what we can, not what we can’t. To tie all of this back to Advent, we have to understand that Christ is the risen King. That should be freaking us out because it’s kind of awesome. Advent isn’t just about his first coming. It’s about preparing for his second coming, too, and about recognizing his Kingship in our lives now. Jesus is a fair and loving King. He also happens to be the God of the Universe, who came into our world as a baby. As a man, and through his witnesses, he says to every single person, “I want you to do and/or believe ‘X,’ but I love you too much to make you.” We should be seriously freaking out about this. All I have to give him is my writing talents, my prayers, and my time.

Yesterday, on my break between my CCD classes, I went into the church and just hung out for half an hour or so. Since no one else was in there, I sang a song for Jesus, and then felt sort of awkward about it. I’m not very good at being quiet. Maybe that’s something I need to work on to prepare for the King this Advent. Maybe I need to turn some of the music and movies, and everything else I love off just a bit, so I can hear his voice a bit more clearly. Maybe all he needs is a little more room.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Yup…

Today I got up and my mom said since it’s Valentine’s Day she’d take me out to lunch. I just wanted take-out, but since she offered I agreed, to be polite. Unfortunately we had an appointment, and therefore, didn’t have enough time to eat a sit-down lunch, but I got my buffalo chicken wrap. It’s my favorite thing in the world, but it’s super unhealthy, so I’m careful not to give into my craving too often.

After our appointment, Seamus (my bird) desperately wanted to go for a ride in the car, so we took him to the Starbucks drive-through with us. Several of the employees there know who he is by now. There are plenty of people who drive through with their dogs, but I think we’re the only bird family. Plus my best friend works there, so I’m sure she’s told them all how actually nasty he is. He doesn’t like people aren’t part of his flock. He just looks cute from a distance.

I got some more of my mosaic done last night. I’m thinking I’m going to need a lighter shade of blue or maybe teal. right now I’m working with black, white, red, and blue. My dad was helping me and he was perplexed at what I was doing last night because I was kind of haphazardly putting pieces down. I’ve been trying to tell him that I’ve had a concept in my head, not a complete, perfected picture. As I get more done, though, I get more of an idea of what it’s “supposed” to be.

Kathy (the woman I mentioned in my previous post) did end up getting back to me. We’re going to meet at my house tomorrow. I don’t know why I’m nervous. I guess part of it might be that although the idea isn’t exactly new to me, I’ve been kind of skirting around it and now I’m finally taking the plunge. There’s also the annoying thought in the back of my mind: “What if I’m wrong?” There are really two ways of looking at it. God calls everyone. I know that, so either I just need to shut that doubt out for good, or if I am wrong, it means I need to figure out what he actually is calling me to.

Last night I came across this: “Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people. That’s why only someone who has God’s Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish.” (1 Cor 2:13-14 CEV) Admittedly, there are times when I find myself thinking about things Jesus says or does, in the Gospels and throughout time, and I think, “Lord, that’s crazy. You’re crazy. I’m crazy. All of this is crazy.” This quote that I found last night just made it make a bit more sense.

Anyway, I have a bird to harass and art to make.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Just Some Holiday Banter

Every year my parents ask my brother and me what we want for Christmas. My brother is still in school and I’m working on my novel, so we both still live at home. I feel like it would be weird if we had our own places, but as it is, it’s nice. Every year, my Christmas list gets a little more eccentric, and generally, a little shorter. This year, there are three things on my list.

1: A day of sleep. I want a day in which no one comes into my room, tells me what time it is, or asks me if I want to get up. I want to stay in bed all day, or at least until I’m starving or really have to pee.

2: 1 month of violin lessons. I bought a violin in July, expecting to be able to teach myself. That didn’t happen. Admittedly it’s because I was feeling musically lazy for a while, but it’s also partly because it’s a freaking hard instrument to learn. I really do love my violin. It’s pretty, its’ sound is unique, and I want to learn to play it. I just need some help.

3: A wireless plug-in thing (whatever it’s called) for my guitar. I run over guitar cables, and thus, wreck them. It’s just one of the little annoyances of being a musician who uses a wheelchair.

I don’t know why I felt like sharing this. It’s actually been a pretty laid back Christmas season for my family and friends and me this year, and it’s been nice. I like it that way. Even our decorations are much simpler than usual. I usually only exchange gifts with one of my friends, and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to get her, but it wasn’t a problem this year, so that’s done. I’ve really liked how simple it’s been. It’s allowed me to focus more on the spiritual aspect of it, which is obviously the most important. Of course I’ve also been freaking out about Star Wars. I’m going to see it with my friends tomorrow night, and with my brother and cousin the following night because I’m a dork. I absolutely love movies, and I love my peeps. I love the crap out of my peeps. Maybe it’s just sentimentality, but I really do feel like part of the spiritual aspect is related to the time I spend with my family (chums included). I don’t see some of them for months at a time, but it changes nothing. In fact, it makes the time we do spend that much more memorable and that much more important. It doesn’t really matter what we do, whether we’re watching movies or playing D&D ’till sunrise (which I’m sure will inevitably happen as it always does). I guess that’s all I really have to say at the moment. I’ll probably write again next week or even earlier, but if I don’t I’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Today I’m A Pirate (With A Tiny Parrot)

Tonight I will be dressing up as a pirate and celebrating Halloween. Halloween has always been fun for me. When I was a little kid I loved to dress up and get a ton of candy, which I inevitably never ate. When I was in high school I liked it because I was interested in the occult. Now I like it because it’s an excuse to hang out with my friends, eat fried chicken and watch scary movies. I also enjoy coming up with cute or creative costume ideas. My best ever was when I dressed up as a soldier, and my dad made a cardboard tank to go around my wheelchair. I realized I could have requested a pirate ship be made for tonight, but we ran out of time.

Of course it’s Halloween season, but somehow my dad and I got on the subject of Christmas a few nights ago. I think we were talking about politics and somehow ended up there. Last night I realized something, however. I like Halloween more than I like Christmas. I don’t mean I dislike the essence of Christmas or the reason we celebrate it. I dislike what Christmas has become. Our culture has turned a religious holiday of great importance into not much more than reason to go shopping. Our Jewish neighbors celebrate it, and my friends, a Hindu, Atheist, and Agnostic, all celebrate it. It is no longer a Christian holiday, but I still feel like I should celebrate it as a Christian, and that can be a headache sometimes.

Halloween has also abandoned its origins, and maybe this bothers someone, but I just don’t know. For me Halloween has always been a completely secular, and completely innocent holiday. It’s just fun, and that’s all it will ever be. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t feel like I have to fight anything when it comes to Halloween. I don’t have to defend its roots. I don’t have to work so hard to re-make it spiritual. Honestly, Christmas, like Halloween has been very secular since before I was born, so I don’t really even have a place to start. I’ve just had to wing it when it comes to making it spiritual.

This is also why I like Easter so much better. While things like the Easter Bunny are weird additions, it’s still a very Christian holiday. At Christmas time, my family throws big parties. We eat a ton of junk food, stay up late, and revel in gift-giving and silliness. We don’t do that at Easter. We go to church, and our parents still give my brother and me Easter baskets, but that’s about it. I usually do some writing and praying and celebrate in my own quiet way, but there’s nothing else to it. No lights, no decorations, no parties. It’s a lot more subdued, but it feels so much more genuine. From what I just described, you might be thinking we’re not happy on Easter, which would be missing the point. Actually, I always feel very happy on Easter, and I’m in a celebratory mood. I’m just not celebrating with so much stuff and so many people. Part of the reason for that is that we don’t have many super spiritual people among our family or friends, but part of it, I think, is that the “stuff” distracts from the purpose of it.

My mom has a cousin whose immediate family doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all because it has become something so vastly different from what it originally was meant to be. I think not celebrating at all still misses the point. While it’s hard to ignore the commercialism of it, I think it’s necessary. Maybe it’s because there’s a part of me that’s still a fighter. I just don’t want its original purpose to disappear completely.

Last night I had a very timely dream. In the dream I found some kind of magical document that opened a doorway to another world, and I spent the remainder of the dream scurrying around my house trying not to get killed by weird magical creatures. It was dark and creepy, and I woke up thankful that it was just a dream. At the same time, it was fun because, well, it’s Halloween. The truth is that Halloween is a perfectly good day to celebrate what Jesus did for us. In fact, considering what this day still represents for some, it’s probably an even better day than most. It is what you make it, and for me it’s a day to celebrate silliness, It’s a day to celebrate being alive, and yes, it’s a day to celebrate my salvation.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Falling In Love Again

Well, hello again. I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging for a few reasons. I’ve mostly just been doing other things. I’ve spent a lot of time with my cousins and friends since I got out of school. Yesterday we went to our cousins’ house for Amber’s 22nd birthday party, and to visit the animals. They have three cats and a small dog. One of their cats was mine for a couple years until we figured out that my brother was very allergic to him. We had named him Hercules, but they renamed him Elvis. In my opinion Hercules was a better name, but that’s beside the point. That cat is 16 or 17 years old now, and much less of a jerk. I think he knew my brother was allergic because when he was a kitten, he would perch himself on the back of a couch, wait until my brother walked by, and then pounce. He wasn’t playful about it, either. He was aiming to kill. Now he mostly just sleeps in boxes that are obviously too small to be sleeping in.

I also spent 10 hours playing Portal over Christmas week. There’s not a whole lot to say about that except that it was very relaxing and very fun. GLaDOS is officially my favorite villain of all time. She’s hilarious. My brother had been trying to get me to play that game literally for years. Spoiler alert; the cake is a lie.

I’ve been open mic hopping, as well. Last week I did one on Monday and one on Tuesday, which was great fun. I’m featuring at my favorite open mic on the 14th. I’m actually missing my first 6:00-9:00 class to do so. I screwed that up, planning-wise, but it was the first slot they had open, so I took it. I keep falling in love with music over and over again. I’m in the honeymoon phase right now (again). I’ve written two new songs fairly recently. One I wrote right before my break started, and one I wrote just this past week. Falling in love with music again is great, because when I’m in love with music, I’m perfectly okay–actually better than okay–with being single. In all seriousness, though, I have to do music. Ideally, I would have it be a full-time job, but it’s gratifying singing to four people in a tiny bar for free. If I have to get a “real job” for a while to allow me to do that, so be it.

In other news, Christmas was great. Christmas mass was actually really nice, despite the fact that our priest’s homily was obnoxious. We’re ignoring that. The point is, I got to sing about Jesus with my family and my best friend who is agnostic. It was really nice of her to come anyway. After church (midnight mass) we exchanged gifts. I got her the first two Hunger Games books, and she got me How To Train Your Dragon 2, and a Toothless plushie, which just makes me so happy. I actually got kind of a weird array of gifts this year. I got a new headset for my computer and a bunch of Guitar Center monies, which were the only things I asked for, but my parents also got me a couple old video games, and a book of Seamus Heaney poems. I also got a few little things like guitar picks and such (I tend to lose them, accidentally give them away, or leave them places). Overall, it was an awesome Christmas. New Year’s was good, too. My little cousin who lives nearby came over, as well as a couple of my friends, and we hung around, watched movies and played video games.

So I’m in a much better mood than the last time I blogged. Happy New Year, everyone!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Procrastination Holiday Mash Up

Since high school my Christmas list has gotten shorter and shorter. There’s usually one or two things I want that I’m too cheep to buy, and one or two things I need, and that’s what I ask for. Otherwise I just buy stuff myself whenever I need/want it. It’s partly because I learned how to save money, and partly because I’ve had a mini-job for the past couple years so I can do said saving of money. It’s also because since probably my junior or senior year of high school, I feel weird asking my parents for things that I can afford and don’t necessarily need or that I can wait for.

The thing is, my parents like buying stuff for my brother and me. We have an obnoxiously huge beanbag chair (it’s not actually a beanbag chair but I don’t exactly know what to call it) in our kitchen in front of the TV. Our kitchen is obnoxiously huge, so it’s basically part kitchen, part dining room, part living room. Anyway, two summers ago it was ridiculously hot, and because of that (or maybe just because of coincidence) I got sick and projectile vomited all over the nest (that’s what we call it). We went 4 or 5 miserable months without a nest, but our parents surprised us with a new one that Christmas.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made sense to get a new one if my brother and I weren’t home all the time. Sam and I are both in college, but I commute, and he comes home every weekend. We’re both about half an hour from home in opposite directions.

Last year my parents surprised me with a 5 gallon fish tank and a beta fish for Christmas. His name is Raskolnikov because Dostoevsky is a genius. I know we have a ten gallon tank lying around somewhere, so I’m thinking about upgrading and getting a few more fish. I don’t think I’d move Raskolnikov because he seems quite content all by his lonesome, but it might be nice to have some more little friends. I’m weird. I talk to my fish.

I do need a new set of headphones for my computer. Last year my aunt got me a wireless set, and they stopped working. I’ve decided to ask for a set of wired ones for Christmas because wireless anything and I have never been friends. In fact, technology and I have never really been friends, but that’s a whole different story. I know it’s the thing you plug into to charge them, and it’s not the charger itself that isn’t working because I’ve tried a different one and it still doesn’t work.

My brother and two of my cousins and I did ask for the new Pokemon game for Christmas. Yes, I’m 21 and I shamelessly admit that I like and play Pokemon. There’s quite a bit of nostalgia involved. When we were kids, Star Wars and Pokemon were our obsession. That and, gosh darn it, they’re fun!

Otherwise, that’s about it. My list is short this year. It drives our parents crazy, and it drives our aunts and grandmothers crazy, too. I could use a new amplifier for my guitars, but that can wait. I suppose I could ask people for Guitar Center gift cards. I’d like to go and try things out for myself. That upgrade probably won’t even happen for a few years anyway, though.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems like Christmas and Thanksgiving are really close together this year. Thanksgiving is kind of the start to our Christmas season anyway. The past few years we’ve gone up to Maine and gone out to eat with our family. We used to have it at our house, but my grandfather got really sick, and my grandmother didn’t want to go far. We’ve just gotten used to doing it that way, I guess. We used to stay for one night, but last year we stayed for two because my grandfather died two days before Thanksgiving and we had to stay for the funeral. This year we’re staying for two nights again just so we can have time to see everyone and hang out. We usually go and get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but since we’re staying for two nights we’re doing that just before we go home. It’ll be fun just to hang out in Portland and play with our cousins. I think we’re going to bring the Wii so we can play Mario Kart in the hotel room.

Our family is insane. My oldest first cousin is 9 years older than me, and my youngest second(third?) cousin is 16 or 17 years younger than me. My mom has about 50 first cousins, which means I have over 100 cousins of varying degrees. On my dad’s side I have 2 second cousins who have no kids, and 2 fist cousins. One is my age and one is two years younger than me. For Thanksgiving this year we’re meeting up with 27 people. Some people have asked why we go out to eat instead of going to someone’s house. Part of it is that we have too many people, and part of it is because it’s significantly less stressful. It makes it fun.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook about people stressing about Christmas already. There are ways of making it less stressful. It’s not that hard. I’ll admit that there are things about Christmas that bug me. It’s almost like there are two holidays going on at the same time, and a minority of people remember the real reason why we celebrate it. The point isn’t to have the biggest tree in the neighborhood (we have the 2nd biggest only because our neighbor has taller ceilings). The point isn’t to get the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to give the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to have the most decorated house (our mom goes nuts anyway, and it’s fun!). The point is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and that’s WAY less stressful.

I know some people freak out about the “secular” stuff and say it’s creepy or evil and that Jesus was born in April, which may or may not be true. The same people don’t celebrate Easter for the same reason: it’s become too secular. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. The point is that we remember the real reason why we celebrate. The other stuff just makes it fun. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have fun. The only thing I might do differently if I had kids is I’d probably skip the whole Santa Claus story. It just seems kind of pointless to me. I’d still get a tree, I’d still eat massive quantities of junk food, and I’d still get together with all the magnificently crazy people.

I think it’s true that people get a little nicer around Christmas, and a little more generous. Maybe the love gets thrown around for some of the “wrong” reasons, but the point is that the love gets thrown around, and I am perfectly okay with that. So have fun. Don’t stress out. Go to church if you want to. Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Just remember why this holiday exists.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

He Put Up A Fight

Well, since I wrote about it last night I thought it would only be fair to let you all know that Papa passed away this morning. My mom told me when I got up and I said I was fine to go to school, but we made it halfway there and I had to turn around. I wouldn’t allow myself to cry all day yesterday, but now I can’t stop. It almost seems strange to be so sad. He’s in a better place now, and he’s young and healthy again. I guess the point is that he’s not here any more and we’re never going to see him again in this life. The wake is on Friday and the Funeral is on Saturday. We’re still planning on doing everything we said we would with Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas tree and everything. I think I’m still going to try and see the Hunger Games if I feel up to it later.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

His Time To Go

Last night my dad got a call from my grandmother. When he hung up he said that his dad probably wasn’t going to make it through the night, so he got in the truck and headed to Maine around midnight. Well, Papa made it through the night, but my dad sent a text to my mom a couple of hours ago saying that he had a fever of 105 and was having trouble breathing. We haven’t had any news since.

I cried when I went to bed last night, but the weird thing is, I haven’t felt all that sad today. Other than my dad not coming home for dinner it’s been a pretty normal day; I got up, finished my homework, played some Minecraft, went to class, went shopping with my mom and my brother, had dinner, and now I’m procrastinating working on a philosophy paper.

The only thing I really am bummed out about at the moment is that this had to happen right before Thanksgiving. A friend of mine is coming home tomorrow night and the new Hunger Games movie just came out on Friday. It was going to be like any other fun holiday weekend. Now we’re all just sitting around, waiting for something to happen. We had made plans to go out to eat in Portland for thanksgiving, and we had invited a bunch of my mom’s cousins and her two sisters. We were going to have a big party and stay in a hotel for the night. On Friday a bunch of us were going to go cut down our Christmas trees. Mom said we could still do all that if Papa goes, but I’m not sure I’ll want to. I know the best way to deal with sad things is to keep busy, so maybe I will anyway. It just seems like it would be too soon to be trying to have fun.

It would honestly be a blessing for Papa to go. He’s been in a nursing home for two years. He could barely talk, and what he did say hardly ever made any sense. I suspect the stuff he did say that made some sense was by chance. After the first year I started avoiding going to the nursing home. I never really knew Papa as a normal, healthy person. The only distinct thing I remember about him is that when I was really little, maybe even before my brother was born, dad and I would go to Grammie and Papa’s house and Papa would make me Ovaltine chocolate milk. I do feel bad about avoiding the nursing home now that he’s going to be gone for good. From what I know, I believe that he was a good person before he got sick, and I believe that he’s going to heaven. I just hope he forgives me when he gets there.

I’m not sure what things are going to be like for Grammie once he’s gone. She’s been going to the nursing home every single day since he’s been there, and my dad has gone up to Maine every other weekend, alternating with my aunt Betsy. It would be good if Grammie decided to move down here to Massachusetts, but I don’t think she will.

Honestly, it feels weird talking about this with my mom. I think she thinks that I’m not emotionally attached to Papa, but I am. I mean he is my grandfather. He’s not just some old man, even though I hardly know him. My mom tends to think that it’s not good to be sad for very long and that people should get over things as soon as possible. I guess I sort of agree with that, but getting over it does take time. I think things are going to be weird for a little while even when we’re done being sad. Life is going to be different anyway.

Well, I should get back to my paper.

The guinea pigs will always be flying.

Happy Christmas!

I slept obscenely late today. After the holidays I’ll get that back under control. Anyway, I would just like to say “happy Christmas” to all my readers. I hope you will all be warm and happy and with your families for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I just hope that this is a time of joy and goodness and giving for everyone.

I also hope that this will be a time of remembering for people. I hope that you will remember the simple things, remember love, remember those who may not have what you have and remember what this holiday really means.

I wish you all the best. Happy Christmas and happy New Year! 🙂