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23 January 2008

Abortion and Reconciliation

Yesterday was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Normally this day passes like any other but this year I was in my RCIA class and had listened to a special on NPR earlier in the day, so the wheels were turning in my head. As the people in my class talked about all of the evil people who have/provide/support abortion, I considered my position on the issue. It was the first time in a long time that I had done so.

I've always supported abortion. I think there is a deeply buried and well hidden feminist urge inside of me that is opposed to the idea that a legal move (created, for the most part, by stodgy old men) can place restrictions upon my body. There are no such laws for men, and you can guarantee that there never will be. That being said, I could never have an abortion. I believe that, for myself, it is wrong. It does violate my ideas on the sacredness of life and personal responsibility. But I also say this as a 27-year-old woman with the education and potential means to support myself and a child should a pregnancy ever surprise me. Ten years ago, my answer may have been different (and it probably was). If my 12-year-old niece came to me and told me that she was pregnant, I'm not at all sure what I would tell her. But I do know that it is a PERSONAL and PRIVATE choice, not a public and legally controlled one. While I may be morally opposed to abortion, I support it legally. We, despite what you may have heard, are not a Christian nation. It completely violates the Constitution to create laws that are based on the morality of religion. It is not the government's place to create laws that impose the moral code of a select group upon the lives of all others. It is unjust and inexcusable. That seems like such a simply concept, but so many people throughout this country fully expect their governmental representatives to create laws based on the tenets of Christianity. Could you imagine the uproar and outcry that would be heard if any other group of people tried to do the same thing? If the Jews tried to get legislation passed honoring the Sabbath on Saturday rather than Sunday (meaning all the blue laws and closing would happen on Saturday rather than their current day), there would be a revolt. I cannot see why it is so hard to morally support/oppose an issue and leave it at that. Why must your views be pushed upon everyone around you? I am well aware that one of the responsibilities of a Christian is to bring others into the fold, but doing so by forcing laws upon them is not the right way to do things. What about education and counseling and compassion and understanding? Would these not be more effective? Abortion is not what is wrong with this nation, and making it illegal will not change anything. If we teach people to make wise choices and instill compassionate morals (that may or may not be tied to organized religion and are taught in the homes), people will view abortion and the death penalty and all those other hot-button topics in a very different light. I'm not sure exactly how to do this, but it will require a massive restructuring of the media and the government but it doesn't necessarily require laws that affect individual rights.


Last night we also discussed the sacrament of Reconciliation. This is the whole confession thing that the Church encourages and emphasizes. As a Protestant, the whole idea of confession bothered me a bit. I was raised to believe that a conversation between you and God was all that was needed and that true remorse and desire for forgiveness would lead to absolution. I still believe these things, but last night's discussion was rather interesting and has shifted my perception of confession.

The Church bases the rite of reconciliation in the Bible when Jesus told the Apostles to go out and forgive the sins of those who told of their sins and sought forgiveness. Because some of the Apostles were the first popes and all were the first priests, this began the tradition of confessing to a priest and asking for absolution. Christ gave the Apostles authority to absolve and ask for penance. Makes complete sense. I really do appreciate how this RCIA program provides biblical sources for many of the traditions and parallels in the Church. It helps someone with a Proti background to come to see how so many of the stereotypes about the Church are baseless.

After talking about from where the tradition came, we talked about WHY the Catholics practice confession. Two reasons really stuck out to me and made total sense. The first is the need to humble yourself to another person. As a person who can be incredibly proud and stubborn, I think that going before a priest to tell him the things that I have done will help me to work on my humility. Just think about how you feel when you have to tell your friend that you've sinned against them. That feeling is horrible, but you feel so much better afterwards because you came clean. The second part that appealed to me is the idea that actually hearing words of forgiveness from a human mouth soothes the human spirit and reassures us. To hear a priest tell me that I am forgiven for the sins that I seek absolution for will make it seem more certain and concrete. While I hope that God forgives my sins when I ask him directly, it is comforting to know that a priest, with Jesus speaking through him, has given me absolution. It is very human for us to need to hear those words. Again, think about when you have sinned against someone you care about. Don't you feel better after hearing them tell you that they forgive you?

Another reason for confession, which I think is funny and clever, is that you are less likely (hopefully) to commit egregious sins if you know that you have to go to a priest and confess, yet again, that you have committed the same sin. That's just smart. Unless, of course, you lie to the priest. Then you're in for more trouble anyway!

Of course, the whole concept of confession brings about the nature of sin and what makes a sin. But, I'll save that for another time.

20 January 2008

An ordinary old day

Not much to report, but I felt like blogging. The Boy is in Dur-Ham watching the Pats game with his homie, and I am at home watching hour three of The Sopranos. I'm currently in the soccer-coach-child-rapist episode. It's a good one. Artie finally grows a pair and man's up and stand up for himself rather than letting Tony push him around all the time. I love Artie. He's a rather likable character even though he's weak.

I've decided that I may want to write a paper on The Bing as a character in the series. You know, The Bada Bing, as in the strip club-money-laundering-front that Tony owns. I think that it is far more than simply a location and is more of a character. While The Bing isn't a main character (although it appears in every episode), it is an essential supporting role that provides an erotic and dangerous and desirous element to the series. I'm not sure how it will work out, but we'll see. Hell, I don't even know if I want to write papers any more. We'll see.

Dammit, LL, and your desire to see the whole series! Of course I had to go back and rewatch it. It's addictive.

The Boy and I saw There Will Be Blood yesterday. The theater was PACKED at the 3:30pm show. It was amazed. The script was average, but Daniel Day-Lewis' performance was beyond description. He is such a talented actor! He plays a total bastard, but you have to love him because he is so charismatic. He totally deserved the award for Best Actor. What I especially love about him as an actor is that he is so selective about the roles that he takes. He doesn't do these silly-ass movies just to turn a buck. He only does one or two movies every five years and so, and they are generally phenomenal. Even if the film itself isn't fantastic, his acting is so superb that you totally enjoy watching him. I bet he's cool, too. A guy that you could sit down with, smoke a cigar, and have a drink with. Normal. There don't seem to many stars left like that. Natalie Portman is one. Ed Burns, definitely. ScarJo, perhaps. Matt Damon, could be. That's about it, though. So many stars these days are snobby as hell, totally caught up with themselves, and aren't all that picky in the films that they choose. Long story short, I really enjoyed the movie. Daniel Day-Lewis is a god. But not in the blasphemous way!!

After the movie, we went to see MealyMel do her bellydance thing. The Boy had never seen her dance, and he was pleased! The show was entertaining (as was last year's) although there was one or two acts that were not so great, but Zoe and MealyMel and most of the other acts were great! There was fire and scarves and hoops and everything! Such fun for a Saturday night! And I even got to check out the new MealyMel sidekick. What a cutie!!!

This morning there was a really great priest delivering mass. I was pleased. Our normal priests are good. Rather, one is. The other is rather ... well, predatory. He has this really scary smile that is painted on his face as he sits by the altar. He refuses to wear his glasses and therefore stumbles over the passages from the Bible. The other priest is Hispanic and incredibly kind and gentle. I enjoy his masses. The priest today was a visiting priest who used to work within the parish (he said that he had a slight "hiccup" in his health ... turns out he had a brain aneurysm!!), and I really enjoyed his homily. He talked about the Jewish tradition of using a sacrificial lamb to cleanse the family's sins and how the "lamb of God" isn't simply a metaphor but Jesus really was a perfect sacrifice and His blood would wash all of the sin away. While I knew these things before, Father James had a really interesting perspective on it and put it into beautiful words.

I'll need to get starting ready soon for MealyMel's birthday party. It's a Speakeasy and I am totally stoked. I'm pretty proud of my costume. I worked hard on it. Perhaps photos will turn up at some point in the future!

And there you have it, folks!

17 January 2008

Charms and apartments

I picked up my charm bracelet today! LOVE it! I cannot wait to add more charms to it!It's pretty and silver and jingly and pretty! So pretty! I also got my ruby band back and it now fits properly and sparkles and shines like brand new! I love jewelry!!

Did I mention it is pretty?

I looked at a new apartment today. It is over on the other side of town, just above the downtown area. I could literally walk to Harris Teeter and Bank of America and a few other essential services. It's 960 square feet (roughly the size of my place now) and is a townhouse. Two bedrooms and a bath up and living room/kitchen and half bath down. There is a private patio in the back. I think I like it, but it's not as fantastic as my place. But, I guess I have to realize that it is considerably less than what I pay now. Don't get me wrong. It's not a bad place. I'm just spoiled.

I still need to get out of my lease early here and figure out if I can manage to get everything together to move in the next few months. I'm taking The Boy to see it on Friday. We'll see what happens.

What to do ... what to do.

Southern Snowstorms

There ain't nothin' like 'em!

As a kid and a teacher in NY, if I had woken up to the weather conditions present this morning, I would have begrudgingly rolled out of bed and started getting ready for school/work. There would be NO WAY IN HELL that they would cancel school for a wet dusting of snow and a bit of sleet and freezing rain. A few more inches of snow (like eight) and a wind chill of minus 10 and school would be delayed for a few hours. But delay for this weather, no way!

Despite this, I was pretty stoked to wake up and find that I didn't need to!!!!!!! I cuddled up with The Beast (the world's best source of free heat!) and went back to bed until 10:30!!!!!!!!!! Of course, I had to wake up a few different times to answer the phone, but I quickly fell back into my coma. It was so relaxing and refreshing to be so leisurely this morning. Granted, I've only been in school for three days now, but all that getting up early for the gym has taken its toll. My body hasn't quite adjusted. Next week will be much better. Once the routine is set, getting up at 5:45am every day will cake. Still, I love a good sleep-in.

So, here I sit, doing laundry and watching Singing in the Rain. I'll be heading downtown later to look at an apartment and pick up my jewelry from the jeweler's. After that, back to the house to get some studying done. Hopefully we'll have a meeting of the I.L.L tonight as well!

And I'm sure I'll earn no gold stars today. No gym for me. Although I have done some office work from home!

16 January 2008

General contemplations

I had RCIA last night. It was good, but, now that we are getting close to Easter, we are starting to deal with the sacraments. For those of you who don't know, the sacraments include: baptism, confirmation, marriage, Holy Eucharist, holy orders, and penance. This weeks focus was on baptism (check! no problem here! baptized at 6 years old!) and chastity. That seems to be a rather disconnected set of topics, but so be it.

The chastity discussion was one of those moments when I realized that my relationship with God is far more important and supersedes the doctrine of the Church. Yes, I try hard to be a good Catholic. I pray, I ask forgiveness, I do good works (or at least try to), I pay penance for my sins, all that jazz. The Church's position on extramarital sex is, well, "no." The Church has also stated that only "mild pleasure" may be derived from sex between a married couple (this is an improvement from the previous position that no pleasure should be derived!). I understand that the whole purpose of sex is for procreation (according to the Church) and that sexual intimacy should be a statement of deep and selfless love and devotion between two people who have joined their lives together. I completely agree with the latter half of that statement!! The Boy and I have that relationship, minus the documentation. I do not support sleeping around or casual sex because it is dangerous to your health and your human psyche. The whole idea that God will banish me to hell for having an deeply emotional and monogamous sexual relationship with a man I intend to be with for a very long time (forever?) seems unreal. The Church believes that marriage is a pure, self-less, and intimate devotion to another human being, placing yourself and your needs below those of your partner. Isn't that what we have? While I understand that marriage is a sacrament, cannot marriage be a commitment of the heart and not a legal and religious display? Is faith and spirituality not enough?

The Church is also opposed to fertility treatments and artificial insemination. This also bugs me a bit. The Church is opposed to birth control but yet opposes ways to encourage reproduction? I struggle with this dichotomy. Not that I want kids, but this just doesn't make all that much sense.

As with any faith, I think it is important to think critically about the promises, requirements, expectations, and doctrines that the faith dictates. Blindly accepting all that you are told makes you sheep. It makes you unable to truly believe. I truly do believe in so much of the basis of Catholicism. But I also believe that my personal relationship with God far outweighs the rulings of an earthly body that "interprets" God's words. These interpretations have changed over time and evolved to reflect the current society and the world in which Catholicism exists. This makes me wonder what other doctrines will change in the future? Perhaps in fifty or a hundred years, when the world is over-populated and starvation and disease spreads, the Church will review their position on birth control.

The most important thing about religion is the ability to rest your head after a long day and sleep well, knowing that you have lived a good live and done good things. You haven't kicked puppies or stolen food from paupers or cheated cancer patients or spoke cruelly to those less fortunate. If you think the best of people, try to make their lives better in whatever way that you can, recognize the blessings that you receive, and live in humility and justice, you will sleep well knowing that you have done God's work. Perhaps God really cares about all these petty things that make up the different doctrines of all these faiths, but I like to think that He cares more about living a good and honest life centered on charity (in all of its forms) and faithfulness.

All I know is that each night when I go to bed and say my prayers, I sleep the sleep of the dead and wake up feeling renewed and rejuvenated. Surely if I was living such a torrid and sinful life, my rest would be far more fitful and unsatisfying.

14 January 2008

Kudos for me

Today was the first day of school.

Or, rather, the first day of the semester. I don't have classes or anything, so it's not really like school for me. Which was odd. I did have ICA work to do, so I was in the office. But I have no teaching and no classes so the old romance of the first day of school has kind of fizzled.

Anyway, I declare that today was a SUCCESSFUL day. I achieved all of my goals and actually enjoyed myself.

- I was up at 5:40am to eat and get to the gym.
- I was working out by 6:55am (my legs have finally healed from my hard-core workout and I was able to do a lower body routine!).
- I was showered and and clean and in the office by 9am. Four different students (two Californians, one Croatian, and a native Tarheel) came by to visit, talk about holiday, and discuss their schedules/classes. As much as I hate student contact, all of them came at me with big hugs! I was actually impressed and kind of happy. Perhaps I actually made an impact last semester.
- I was home and lunched by 2:20pm, at which time I went to pick of Joe-Joe from school.
- Dinner was eaten on the couch at 6:30 while watching The Tiger and The Snow.
- Studying commenced from 7-8:45 (with a few breaks here and there to stoke the fire and talk to the 'rents on the phone). I finished the poet I was working on, so I was happy.

All in all, a very good day. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come!

11 January 2008

Reading update

I am on schedule with my comps. Skillz and I had a fairly productive study session the other night, and we talked about the whole comps process. It made me feel better. Skillz is fantastic. (Believe it or not, we only had one drink the whole evening! What is going on in our relationship?!?!)

I finished I am Legend. Word of advice: don't waste your time. HORRIBLE BOOK! I wonder why so many movies have been based on it. The basic premise is okay, but the writing is horrible. I should have known better when the back cover had the quotation "This story inspired me and my works," written by none other than the hack of all times, Stephen King. Ugh. So, not only did the book give me a few bad dreams, but it also wasted five hours of my life that I will never get back!

I am currently entrenched in The Great Divorce. Much better. The only bad part is that I have been so exhausted lately at night, I can only read about a chapter. But at least I am reading something enjoyable that is unrelated to academic studies! This is actually the first work by C.S.Lewis that I have ever read. Pretty stoked about that.

Oh, and then I realized I have other things I need to read! I found The Poe Shadow in m drawer. I had started it way before holiday and had forgotten about it. Put it back in the list of books to read!

It's all mine!

As many of you may know, our financial aid checks came yesterday!! I was extremely excited about this even though that I know that the money will immediately disappear in a wave of bills and attempts to "get ahead." Of course, just knowing that the check was waiting in my mailbox gave me the impetus to buy a sterling silver charm bracelet and three silver charms to go with it (I've wanted a charm bracelet for as along as I can remember, and, as soon as it arrives at the jeweler's, I will now have one!). Of course, as soon as I got home, I ran to the bank to put my monies in my account. I resisted the urge to "do my checkbook" as soon as I returned home. I figured that I would let me bank account bask in the glory of actually having money before I started writing checks left and right.

Of course, that means that first thing this morning I began paying bills. I paid my rent through May, paid off my computer and my AT bill. I also made some large payments on my credit cards, and, most importantly I PAID OFF MY CAR!!!!! The Alero is officially all mine. I just need to wait for the payment to clear and for the bank to issue me a clean title! I'm pretty stoked about this. I've had this car for almost five years (the dumb ex-husband convinced me, in all his wisdom, to take out a five year loan so I would have lower payments. Never having had a loan before ever, I followed his guidance. It should have been a sign when I realized that he had had five vehicles in five years and all of his loans were now upside-down! Oh well. Live and learn.)! Hopefully she will continue to behave herself and work well with the occasional minor repairs and oil changes (Knock on wood!). Of course, as I am on the phone with the bank, they tell me that they are going to transfer me to a loan officer so I can speak to them about getting a new loan. I was like, "Hold up, peeps! I want no more loans (other than my school loans, and I only take them because I have no choice!)!" I nicely explained that I now lived in NC and taking out a loan from a bank in NY was ridiculous, and I wasn't in the market for another loan. I couldn't believe their vulture-esque behavior. Let me have a few months with no payments, people! Back off!

With all the furious check writing, I resisted the urge to blow the entire pot on all my bills. I'll let a decent chunk of it sit in the bank for a little while in case something big and unforeseen comes up! Maybe after I get my paycheck at the end of the month I will take care of some more crap. We'll see. In the meantime, I may be chopping up my AT card. And my VS card. And my Old Navy/Gap card. Maybe I'll just keep them and use them as an exercise in will power. I wonder whose will would win? Mine or my compulsion's?

Is it wrong that I feel so friggin' ecstatic about paying off my car with a student loan?

10 January 2008

The things I would buy Kiki if I were made of money ...

(Read the above carefully!)

Perhaps after the financial aid check makes its appearance, some goodies may be purchased!

Love you, Kikster!

09 January 2008

An update on the enjoyable monotony

I love this week. It is totally fabulous. Fabulous in an "I've-got-nothing-to-do-and-enjoy-the-leisure" kind of way. The week of Christmas was chaotic and busy. The week of New Year's was a bit more of the same. However, this week, The Boy has returned to Winston to start school and it is just The Beast and myself chillin' in the apartment. I've had to work in the afternoons, but my mornings have been wide open!

I'm happy to report that I have been to the gym TWICE this week. I would have gone three times, but my facial was Monday morning at 9am and there was NO WAY I was missing that! The Fox has even joined me at the gym. Yeah for physical fitness!! Although, I do feel rather fat and lazy since I haven't been to the gym in AGES! Regardless, it is a new year and a new semester, and my insane-o 5am gym routine is back with a vengeance! Be prepared, peeps! Skinny MB shall return! Well, maybe not skinny, but at least healthy and well toned. Skinny scares me.

After my early morning workouts, I've returned home to eat, shower, and work. I am also happy to report that after my workout yesterday (which I am still paying for right now ... my legs are S-O-R-E!) I came home and worked on my comps from 10:30 until 1:30. I was able to type up and organize all of my notes for Pound, Stevens, and Williams. Tonight, Skillz is coming over to study, and I plan to hammer out some W.E.B. DuBois. (Of course, I'm sure wine will be involved, so I'm not sure how well the DuBois will actually go!) Tomorrow I have the whole day off and I plan to smack out some Frost, fill in the holes in my notes thus far, and possibly get ahead. We'll see. I also want to hit the Franciscan Center and the jewelers downtown, but that could always be my mid-day break.

R.C.I.A began again last night. It was nice to get back into the swing of things and meet with people that I haven't seen since before the holidays. I enjoy the R.C.I.A meetings. I get to learn so much about the faith and the inner workings of the Church. I also discovered that my initiation will be held on the Easter VIGIL mass (Saturday evening), not the morning mass. I'm cool with that. The mass is supposed to last from 8pm until midnight or so, so I am interested in seeing how it all works out. I am actually really excited to finish the process and participate in the Eucharist. This process has truly served as a centering force in my life. I honestly feel more at peace, more patient, more understanding, and generally more calm. Of course, I still have my moments (I am a New Yorker, after all!), but it seems to take a lot more to get my goat.

So, according to my calculations, everything is in check. My physical life is balancing back out. My intellectual life is forging ahead smoothly. My spiritual life is rather satisfying. My social life is going well. I really have no complaints.

Except one. School starts back up Monday. I'm hoping my journey into faith with help me to deal with the pending onslaught of student athletes and their problems. God, grant me the serenity ...

06 January 2008

Oh, so much to read!

So, as we all know, my comps are looming on the not-so-very-distant horizon. I've built myself a fairly manageable schedule for reading each week. Of course, to avoid getting completely swallowed up in the world of academia, I've got a small stack of non-comps books to read.

To be read:
I am Legend
The Great Divorce
- C.S. Lewis
The Cloister Walk - Kathleen Norris (Thanks, Brandy!)
My Mother Teresa Book

My goal (and I've typed this out so now I must stand by it!) is to read in one of these texts EVERY night. One of the things that I hate about grad school is that it has completely stripped me of my ability to read for pleasure or relaxation. I am determined to renew this skill. My days will be filled from 6am-9pm every day, and I'm hoping that these pleasure books will be an effective way of winding down each night. Of course, given that all of my real responsibilities don't begin for another week, all of these books may be read before school even starts!

04 January 2008

Mi oreja dola mucho!

I got my tubes in today. Or, more accurately, tube. The doctor only put a tube in the left because that is the one with all of the trouble.

HOLY CRAP did it hurt! To numb the ear drum and surrounding area, he had to inject me not once, not twice, but THRICE with a needle. I'm not sure if you've ever had a needle injecting in your ear canal, but it ranks way up there with the top five most painful things I have ever experienced. After the ear drum finally went numb, the room started spinning. The stupid examining/operating chair was too high off the ground for me to place a stabilizing foot down, and I almost threw up. As he is completing the procedure, he is scraping and suctioning me ear out which only compounded my dizziness. While I couldn't feel anything, I could hear the deafening loud noises he was making. He kept saying, "The worst part is over." Ugh!

Twenty minutes later (yes, only twenty minutes!), I was done. It didn't hurt because it was still numb, but, as soon as that wore off, I took a fistful of drugs and took a nap.

I do hope this corrects all my lame-o ear problems!

Off to pick up Joe from school! (I'm a quick healer ... that, and I want to get PAID!)

03 January 2008

Nothing says "Happy New Year" like getting inked!

Last night, The Fox, LL, and I all went to Little John's to get The Fox's nose pierced. I had been contemplating getting my lady bug covered or touched up for some time (it is over ten years old and is a wee bit faded), and I figured that there was no time like the present! Of course, The Fox, running on the high of her new piercing, decided to get the tattoo that she had designed some time ago. LL watched us with a face that screamed, "my friends are friggin' whack jobs!"

I finally decided on a blue morning glory (with a blossom big enough to cover the old and withered lady bug) and a pink butterfly (The Boy calls me "Mariposa" which is Spanish for Butterfly). I am quite pleased with it. It is still small enough to hide beneath my bikini (as long as bikinis get no smaller than the ones I currently own), and I think it is more representative of who I am now instead of the teenager who wanted to get a tattoo with her best friend. (He still has his in its original state.) It's not that I hated my lady bug. I liked it, but I wanted a bit of a change. Now you can't even tell it was there. Of course, I will always know it is there, beneath the blue blossom of a morning glory.

(The actual tattoo is far more clearer and sharper. Photos just don't do it justice!)

Hopefully The Fox will post her new additions soon so all can see how bad ass she is now. I am so proud!

02 January 2008

Some resolutions for a new year

While I'm not one for making (and keeping) New Year's resolutions, I was inspired by The Fox's 19 new resolutions and thought that I would make a few of my own. Whether or not I keep them is a different story.

1. I resolve to hit the gym far more regularly this spring. In previous semesters, I hit the gym every morning at 6am. This fall ... not so much. Of course my schedule made it difficult, but no more excuses. My booty will be at the gym at 7am every day, Monday through Friday, starting on January 14th. That is, of course, when school resumes. Until then, I will be trying my best not to eat the mountains of chocolate in my cupboards.

2. I resolve to continue to study hard for my pending exams. I will stay on schedule and perhaps even get ahead.

I think two resolutions are quite feasible. Any more and I would simply be setting myself up for failure!

(By the way, I said "no" to the manager's position at AT. Thanks for all the input, peeps!)

01 January 2008

The Annual Post-Holiday Update

Prepare yourselves, folks. This could be a long one, but I will do my best to abbreviate it.

The Boy, The Beast, and I all headed north on the Friday before Christmas. We stayed with my parents in NY until Christmas day. While in NY, we chilled with the 'rents, visited with the family, and stocked up on good NY beer from Wegmans and Ithaca Beer. We also totally bought out the Lindt chocolate section of the grocery store. They had a wicked amazing sale!

After a loud and chaotic Christmas Eve and a tranquil and calming midnight mass at Immaculate Conception, The Boy, The Beast, and I went home to rest up for the short trip to Boston. We awoke on Christmas morning to open gifts with my mom and dad (Hoooray for a new microwave!!! No more sweet potatoes on fire for me!), and then packed the car to head east.

We arrived in Boston around 4pm, and The Boy's Momma had prepared us the traditional Italian dinner. And by traditional I mean A BOATLOAD OF FOOD! She repeatedly apologized for not having any appetizers ready, but she knew we would be hungry when we arrived so she went straight for the main courses. Yes, I said courses. The first course was cavatellis and chicken and sausage and other varieties of meat. The second course was two whole baked chickens and some roasted potatoes. The third course was antipasto. The final course was a spread of pastries and desserts that would give any reasonable human being a cavity just looking at it. Of course, me being me, I enjoyed the final course more than the rest! The amount of food was unbelievable. My mom laughs when The Boy talks about how his family cooks. I don't think she believes it. I should have taken pictures of it all. It was ridiculous.

The following day, we drove up to Gloucester. The Beast got to run free on the beach (despite it being friggin' cold) and enjoy the waves and the sunshine. She ran around with her dad and the other dogs (who were all very interested in her delicate parts) and really enjoyed herself. She is normally afraid of the waves, so I was really proud of her when she started chasing them and playing in them. Of course, I got no pictures of this. Perhaps when we return in the summer ... After we left Gloucester, we got some food from Kowloons (75$ worth of Chinese food for 4 people?!?!) and went home to eat. The Boy's auntie came over for tea and dessert, and then we all chilled out and watched Planet Earth on the new plasma flat screen.

(For those of you who are unaware, Planet Earth is my new obsession. It is a BBC production of hour long episodes detailing different aspects of, well, Planet Earth. The camera work is AMAZING and it reveals such fascinating and private aspects of animals and ecosystems from such places as caves, the poles, the oceans ... everything. It's a six disk set and each disk has 2-3 different episode. The best part is the ten minute "Diary" segment at the end of each episode. It highlights some of the troubles that the crew had to go through to get particularly difficult shots. They are hysterically funny because all these Brits are bitching about having to stand in bat guano for a month of pulling heavy ass sleds through the arctic. GREAT FUN! Needless to say, we bought a copy upon out return to the 'boro, and we are almost all the way through the series!)

We drove back to North Carolina on Friday (all thirteen hours of bliss) and unpacked the 3 cases of beer and two cases of miscellaneous booze from the car. Oh, and the rest of our luggage as well. We promptly got Thai food and then crashed. It was so good to relax and sleep in my own bed.

Saturday consisted of working at AT and then driving to Durham to hang out with our pals. Turns out, they are pregnant! Just two weeks ago, she told me that they had decided to quit trying and begin the adoption process. (This is the same family who lost their baby that I wrote about some many months ago.) It was a mix of excitement and trepidation, but they seem pleased.

We celebrated New Year's the Irish way last night with a 7pm toast at McCoul's. Because we are old people, we wanted to be home before it was too late. We were actually in bed by 10:45pm. All of our travelling had finally caught up with us. My last request to The Boy was to let me sleep in until my body told me to wake up. He did, and it was wonderful (although, I woke up a few times in the middle of the night because I had nightmares of leopards attacking and eating The Beast ... damn that Planet Earth!)

As of now, I am studying for my comps (or, I was until I decided to blog) and The Boy if doing laundry and cooking. Life seems to be back to normal. I am happy about that.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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