Fides, veritas et virtus


YouTube Tuesdays (vol. 4)

Since it is May, the month of Our Lady, here are three YouTube videos in her honor. The first is a “video prayer”, very beautiful, very peaceful. The second is a recording of the Salve Regina with pictures. The last is a recording of Andrea Bocelli singing the Ave Maria (Schubert) with pictures.

Enjoy!


Still here, promise!!

Oh golly, I’m sorry that I disappeared like that. The past few weeks/month has been crazy, but slowly things are falling back into routine. (And boy do I crave a routine!)

Brief update –
1. Moved to Maryland about 2 weeks ago. Still searching for a job, but there are many to be had. So I am hopeful.
2. Chopped off twelve inches of hair to donate to Locks of Love. My head feels lighter. It feels oddly symbolic, as if I needed to cut off my hair to get a fresh start.
3. Living with my darling recently widowed grandmama – she needs the company, and I need the discounted living arrangements.
4. Completed promotional movie #2 for The BOMA Fund. That’s two 10-minute movies in 1.5 months, for use nationally and abroad. Whew! Glad that is over!
5. My car is in the shop, but apparently there is nothing wrong with it. I find that hard to believe since “pedal to the metal” it would only go barely 50 mph yesterday. Oh, and it’s in the shop in Massachusetts (I’m in Maryland) because…..
6. This weekend I FINALLY became a college graduate! Yes ma’m, after almost 6 years I am officially a Smith College alum. Woot woot! The ceremony was held outside despite the drizzle – cold and wet…not fun. But I have the pretty and important piece of paper. So no complaints!


Wisdom

Today may my prayers help me realize
I cannot control everything.
To put the world in order,
We must first put the nation in order;
To put the nation in order,
We must first put the family in order;
To put the family in order,
We must first set our hearts right.

— Confucius


Grateful

God is so good!
Today I received a lovely card from my neighbor congratulating me on my upcoming graduation ceremony – enclosed was a bit of money to start me off on my next big adventure.

The quantity was exactly (to the penny) amount that I needed to make a crucial financial deadline by the end of this week. Alleluia!

This reminds me of a quote from Mother Angelica –
“My experience is: God gives you what you need as you need it. When we had bills for $300 one week, $350 would come in. Usually, just what you need comes in – not much more – just what you need.”

— Also, regarding my previous concerns about not being able to give 2 weeks notice at work before I head out. K., my boss, told me that she thought that these next few weeks would be the last bit of work that she would need for a while. And the new intern is coming in at the end of May. Basically, my move on May 8th is not inconveniencing her at all. I love it when things work out!


Things that I am only just realizing…

– Graduation is Sunday May 17th…not May 15th as I have emphatically been telling everyone (including my mother, grandmother, cousins, father…everyone).

– Losing 15 pounds in 4 months is great and all, but it does have an effect on how your clothes fit. Methinks I’ll need to either a) hire a tailor, or b) basically buy a new wardrobe soon. All of which requires money, which I don’t have. In the meantime all of my clothes have started to resemble potato sacks.

– That I won’t be able to give my boss a full two weeks notice now (though I think that it is at least partially her fault because she didn’t return my emails or phone calls last week). My last day of work in the office has to be May 7th. I am suggesting that I continue to work, albeit from a distance, until the intern from SLC arrives in July. As long as I have an internet connection and a phone line, I should be able to accomplish most of the tasks she needs. So it’s not that bad, is it??

– Now that it suddenly 90 degrees outside, I realize that the air conditioner is broken in my car. It probably just needs more Frion. I am not enthused.


YouTube Tuesdays (vol. 3)

**stay with it…it gets crazy**


Church awkwardness

It is possible that I am the most awkward peace passer known to man. It’s my (almost) favorite part of Mass, the part that before I really knew about the Eucharist made me want to go to church on Sunday, but lately my social anxiety has made me loathe it so.

Probably this is a phase, a reflection of the current rut that I’m in, but lately hand-shaking time comes around and I want to crawl under a pew.

I’m always the one smiling expectantly, ready to greet and meet all the surrounding people, hand half-extended. But then I realize I’m in the middle of so many families, so many friends. It seems strange to be alone. I don’t want to interrupt any interactions by thrusting my hand forward. So I stand there awkwardly shifting my weight from foot to foot, willing the ceremony to continue so I can get out of there.


7 Quick Takes (vol. 6)

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For more wonderful Friday snippets, see Jennifer’s 7 Quick Takes feature over at Conversion Diary

(In this episode the writer is rather down in the dumps.)

1. I’m going through a major life challenge at the moment. It’s something that I’ve wanted to blog about but I don’t know how without sounding whiny. Since all I can do obsess over this little situation that I’ve gotten myself into, it’s been hard to find time to actually be an interesting person. If I can find some way to talk about it without being all ‘woe is me’ I’ll post. If not then it just might be super quiet here while I get my stuff figured out.

2. One possibility stemming from this life challenge – an upcoming move. To where? There are, at present, two options that are bouncing around in my head: a) Ocean City, Maryland; or b) Santa Fe, NM.  Option A is where my mother and her family lives. Since many of my troubles are centered around a decided lack of income, living with my mom or grandmother would be beneficial at the moment. They wouldn’t charge me rent or utilities. I could work and save for the summer and then assess. The problem is then I’ll just be flinging myself into the arms of another branch of my family and not really standing on my own two feet. Also Ocean City, MD is not really the classiest place on earth and definitely not THE that ‘going-places’ kinda gal starts out on her own path. There is a possibility that I’ll get stuck there too. With Option B, my oldest friend is offering me a spot in her apartment at extremely low rent. The minimum wage is the highest in the country in NM so I could make money even if I don’t have the most glamorous position. I’ve also never been to Santa Fe so that would be an adventure. Downside – I don’t know if I can live with said friend and NOT want to strangle her. We are very different people so whether we could live together (and with her 2 or 3 other flatmates who I don’t know) is questionable. Also I would be paying rent and not saving every penny.  Oh decisions, decisions…

3. How I can tell that I’m bordering on actual depression – the lump in my throat and the fact that all I want is bagels and pasta and english muffins and bread and starch. And some cookies and sugar for good measure. In the last year I’ve lost 15 pounds putting me really really close to healthy weight for my height. If I keep up the way have these past two weeks I’ll be big as a house again. Maybe if I eat better I’ll feel better.

4. Searching searching searching for a more cheerful topic…..I’ve had a lot of time to read. Most of the books I’ve been reading have been about the Church’s teachings on different topics that I struggle with – homosexuality and liberation theology for example. I never did RCIA (my college chaplain agreed that because these next few years will be quite up in the air it might have been difficult for me to find a church home long enough to complete the course, so she worked with the bishop to fast track me in once I was certain that I wanted to join the Church) so my education about the finer points of doctrine and tradition have been learned mostly by self-study. It’s cool because I’m a pretty independent learner but not so cool because I miss out on the community/discussion aspect. Still its all turned out okay. Trying really hard to make this doldrum time into a sort of retreat. It’s difficult – but I’m searching for that silver lining.

5. Bought two new cookbooks this week – Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Having been a vegetarian for 15 years or so, suddenly I crave meat. So now, I’m toying with the idea of learning to cook meat. First project – roast chicken.

6. After sleet and hail and 30 degree weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s supposed the be 80 degrees this weekend. This is Vermont.

7. Oh! Good, exciting news! I have been asked to sing with my good friend Rae in her summer recital in August. My first operatic duet! We are looking at two songs Barcarolle from Les Contes d’Hoffman…and the Flower Duet from Lakme. Oh how WONDERFUL to sing again!


‘Morning-after’ pill for minors

Morning After Pill

This is absurd. At 17 years-old, you are legally still a child. Your decisions, medical or otherwise, come under the jurisdiction of your parent/guardian.

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old lady – what is this country coming to?

Whether or not birth control/Plan B should be legally available is a valid subject to debate, but allowing minors to purchase this drug without parental permission???

I don’t even have kids, and I’m just a few years older than the 17-year-olds who will buy this, but I still bristle at the idea of the government stealing away the role of the parent and deciding when my child is mature enough to make her own decision about birth control. Absolute absurdity.
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FDA to allow ‘morning-after’ pill for 17-year-olds
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press Writer 39 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Women’s groups cheered the government’s decision to allow 17-year-olds to buy the “morning-after” emergency contraceptive without a doctor’s prescription, but conservatives denounced it as a blow to parental supervision of teens.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it would accept, not appeal, a federal judge’s order that lifts Bush administration restrictions limiting over-the-counter sales of “Plan B” to women 18 and older. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled last month in a lawsuit filed in New York that President George W. Bush’s appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.

Women’s groups said the FDA’s action was long overdue, since the agency’s own medical reviewers had initially recommended that the contraceptive be made available without any age restrictions.

Korman ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds get the birth control pills. He also directed the agency to evaluate clinical data to determine whether all age restrictions should be lifted.

The FDA’s latest action does not mean that Plan B will be immediately available to 17-year-olds. The manufacturer must first submit a request.

“It’s a good indication that the agency will move expeditiously to ensure its policy on Plan B is based solely on science,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit.

Conservatives said politics drove the decision.

“Parents should be furious at the FDA’s complete disregard of parental rights and the safety of minors,” said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

Plan B is emergency contraception that contains a high dose of birth control drugs and will not interfere with an established pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman’s chances of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent.

Critics of the contraceptive say Plan B is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Recent research suggests that’s possible but not likely.

The battle over access to Plan B has dragged on for the better part of a decade, through the terms of three FDA commissioners. Among many in the medical community, it came to symbolize the decline of science at the agency because top FDA managers refused to go along with the recommendations of scientific staff and outside advisers that the drug be made available with no age restrictions.

“The FDA got caught up in a saga, it got caught up in a drama,” said Susan Wood, who served as the agency’s top women’s health official and resigned in 2005 over delays in issuing a decision. “This issue served as a clear example of the agency being taken off track, and it highlighted the problems FDA was facing in many other areas.”

The treatment consists of two pills and sells for $35 to $60. Women must ask for Plan B at the pharmacy counter and show identification with their date of birth. The drug is made by a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, an Israeli company. It does not prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS.

Supporters of broader access argued that Plan B is safe and effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy and could help reduce the number of abortions.

Opponents, including prominent conservatives, counter that it would encourage promiscuity and might even become a tool for criminals running prostitution rings, as well as for sexual predators.

Early in the Bush administration, more than 60 organizations petitioned the FDA to allow sales without a prescription. But according to court documents, the issue quickly became politicized.

In 2003, a panel of outside advisers voted 23-4 to recommend over-the-counter sales without age restrictions. But top FDA officials told their subordinates that no approval could be issued at the time, and the decision would be made at a higher level. That’s considered highly unusual, since the FDA usually has the last word on drug decisions.

In his ruling, Korman said that FDA staffers were told the White House had been involved in the decision on Plan B. The government said in court papers that politics played no role.

In 2005, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other organizations sued in federal court to force an FDA decision.

The following year, the FDA allowed Plan B to be sold without a prescription to adults. But the controversy raged on over access for teens.

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AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.

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On the Net:

FDA’s Plan B page: http://tinyurl.com/ch3ys6


7 [really] Quick Takes (vol. 5)

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I’m delighted to participate once again in Jennifer’s “7 Quick Takes” (sponsored by Conversion Diary).

1. In honor of spring I’ve changed my Google background to Cherry Blossoms – so beautiful!

2. My dogs are actually piranhas. They practically took my fingers off while I gave them treats….seriously bite marks. Sheesh!

3. Look what I did! This is a promotional movie that I whipped up for work last week. It’s the first time that I have ever used iMovie.  

4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is such a wonderful movie. I just watched it for the first time in years and years and I still think I want to be Holly Golightly (just a little)….maybe just Audrey Hepburn…

5. To Have and Have Not is not such a stunning movie, but watching Bogie and Bacall fall in love = Priceless.

6. I bought my cap and gown this week!!! YAY! Graduation is (finally) less than a month away. Can you believe it?

7. Last night I learned how to roll my own sushi. Pretty rad, no?