Thursday, May 27, 2010

When I get old...

Man's Life
"You ask, What is the life of man on earth?
Take two opposing things as your response:
The body, see, is just a moment fused
With the eternal; but the soul, an age
Unifinished, or instead: man's life is but
A moment fixed in time on which depend
Ages' eternities; a narrow path
From womb to grave, from soul and body's link
Till both do part; at each step, should man fall,
'Tis life or death eternal which awaits.
Rare is the man who runs the measured span,
Wherefor all things must ever be on guard.
Who wants to live with God, not burn in hell,
Should think of every single hour his span."
Waclaw Potocki (1621-96)

What I was going to that when I get old, I am definately taking the liberty of wearing hot red lipstick that so many old women find necessary for the daily ins and outs of living.

I looked over at Irene, busy with the address labels, and examined her outfit. A shiny red sweater, sequins or beads of some sort. A small brooch, also shiny, was pinned on to her sweater. And decorating the thin and worn lips beneath this woman's aged skin and antique glasses was bright red lipstick. The kind where you can see where she didn't reach full lip-coverage. I laughed to myself as I thought of Irene Durray--perhaps the nosiest person in the world, but I am unable to call her to mind without the slight sinking of my heart for her poor and lonesome heart! Little old ladies sure are sweet on their own, even the crabby ones. I'm definately going to wear bright lipstick of some sort.

We finished the mailing here at the Maternity Home and, like always, the newsletters have been taken to the Post Office, to travel far and wide--reaching the far corners of choice persons across the United States. The work of the maternity home here truly is a gift of God and an amazing witness to the love of life that drives many people despite various, and often majority, reports in the media. On the pro-life note, check out this website: LifeSite News. And those North Dakotans of you, sign the petition.

Having completed the mailing which was the main project for today, we traveled to the Meditteranean as we immersed ourselves in a true Mezza meal. We (meaning my co-worker) made 5 homemade Mezza dishes upon which we feasted with much delight. Home made hummus and flat bread. Falafels (my favorite for the night). A juicy cucumber salad and one other dish I can't quite recall. It was all fabulous. And for dessert we had mangos, cherries and french vanilla yogurt. It was time consuming and refreshing to sit down and eat a meal over such an amount of time..something wholesome about it.

For those curious: my unofficial* interview this week went very well! The interviewing board was put together Tuesday night (after I met with the pastor of the parish), and he said he would get back to me the first or second week of June. I'm very excited about it and I do hope it all works out. The pastor was super welcoming and impressed with the speed of my application--I had heard about the job before it was advertised, and the day I went in to meet with him was the day it was posted. He said he chose the deadline for June 21st, but that he might now move it up to June 14th. :-) Sounds hopeful. Great experience. We will see.

I finished a novella by Eudora Welty, The Robber Bridegroom, and was not too impressed. The character development was in want, but there were a few choice phrases and sentences, a couple great descriptions, which are now tucked away somewhere inside me; for these it was worth it. I won't even bother with summary...On ther other hand, I'm also 100 pages into Herman Wouk's City Boy: The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder. This, on the other hand, is quite fun to read and written from the perspective of an 11 year old boy, thus having many funny insights into the mind of such an age. It's delightful :).

Sorry for all the hyperlinks this post, but here's another one: The Pornography Plague. I found it off of some facebook link that was posted. It's interesting and I would like to study more on the ethos of the body and why nudity is permitted in some works of art and that other "works of art'"of nudity simply are not. ...
"What do you see, what do you feel?
Do you discover clearly waht the artist
has tried to say? Does your heart respond to its beauty?
Does the great theme which it concerns
itself with shine down on you from the canvaswith a
new significance, transfigured by the insight, the skill,
the emotional coloring this creative personality?"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another day in the life of Rebecca Barclay...

Question of the day: How are naturally awkward people who get nervous supposed to get hired?!

This is meeee. haha. For the longest time I told myself that I would be arriving in Minneapolis/St. Paul area, job etched in stone and apartment with good roommate at hand, in August. It is now May 24th and I have only struggled to keep calm and carry on as I frantically try to figure out this thing called growing up. All this worrying began when I started actually applying for positions and realized "wow, they could not want me." And they have right now to want me. I don't know the number of schools I've applied to in Minneapolis/St. Paul--but all of a sudden I have a firm grasp on the lack of leeway I have as far as picking and choosing right now, and have expanded my desired circumference of interest.

That being said: today I left the maternity home for Grand Forks. Looking great in my new green sweater, I was determined to take all the professional advice my dear political science major friend had given me about public speaking, presentation, etc. and sell myself. There is a Director of Religious Education position open at a parish in Grand Forks, and I have decided to apply. I walked into the parish office, requested the appropriate person, and when informed that he was out of the office asked for his hours for the rest of the week--I was determined to make contact with him in person and leave an impression. This is where it all came tumbling down: she then informed me he was out of the office on Monday to which my response was "today's Monday?" *MORTIFICATION*

Her wide eyed expression and quickly covered look of confusion said it all: you look like you are 16 and you MUST have just gotten out of bed, I can't imagine what business you have to speak with that man about. Haha. I think I'm going crazy at a young age. After informing the secretary that I had nothing to drop with her, I left in a state of confusion and mortification at how I could miss that small detail of the day. *AH*.

Anyway. UGH. I'm sure she's forgotten by now, and I blame how Ave ages you 10 years more than other schools, and the craziness of working at a Maternity Home, which has aged me 15 years--so all in all, I'm really the soul of a 40-something year old woman, with x amount of kids who is always a bit frazzled. I also blame my love for the Classics and my tendency to forget practical things, like the day of the week, because I'm lost in some other era.

WELL, that being set aside. I did call later in the day, not the secretary, the contact, and have scheduled an interview for tomorrow at 2pm. And all inside of me is freaking out "is it at 2pm?! Did I hear him right?!?!"...There's only one way to know: go tomorrow at 2pm. ... This whole growing up thing is quite stressful.

On the upside--I am drinking a nice glass of wine right now, and am halfway through a Eudora Welty novel, and I DO have an interview tomorrow. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a coffee shop, and wandered around cutesy shops and spent more money than I should have. C'est la vie! It's still raining and storming now and I'm hoping to finish this novel tonight. I still haven't gotten my I.S.B.N. book for May: Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen.

I guess that's all for today...despite minor mishaps of a work-world minor, it was a great day.

P.S. This is my awesome green sweater from New York and Company. It was on sale for $20. It looks a lot better on me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"...who I am, what I do, and how I live..."

Upon leaving Ave Maria last week by car, I knew I would need something to read for the 30 hours+ car drive and my choice ended up being The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. If the name sounds familiar to anyone from Ave, it's because we read The Republic in his translation at school. At the beginning of the semester I had a conversation with Dr. Dinan about beauty and music, and he brought up this book and told me to look into its chapter on music, that it was worth it. So, after ordering the book about halfway through the semester, I finally picked it up while leaving and I must say that I couldn't have made a better choice for reading after finishing school. I'm only halfway through and it's one of the best books I've read on the state of students in the US today. Allan Bloom takes his many years of experience and writes in a reflective style on what he's found and what has changed over the years.

I also am quite pleased to say that his words give me justification for my book fetish, which has increased (I can tell because I just stored away 3 boxes of books, with plenty un-read, and yet just ordered 3 more tonight online: 2 by Wendell Berry and 1 by Ron Hansen). Bloom writes, "The loss of the books has made them (students now) narrower and flatter. Narrower because they lack what is most necessary, a real basis for discontent with the present and awareness that there are alternatives to it. They are both more contented with what is and despairing of ever escaping from it. The longing for the beyond has been attenuated. The very models of admiration and contempt have vanished. Flatter, because without interpretation of things, without the poetry or the imagination's activity, their souls are like mirrors, not of nature, but of what is around. The refinement of the mind's eye that permits it to see the delicate distinctions among men, among their deeds and their motives, and constitutes real taste, is impossible without the assistance of literature in the grand style."...
So, for those who were closing Amazon, or walked out of Barnes and Noble empty handed, feel free! ;-).

I spent the day working and then showing my old* college friend, Jessica Wasko, around my farm! We grilled burgers and had bud light for the full northland experience. It was great, I wish all my friends from school could come visit and just be in the wide open spaces of the beautiful country here. Our conversation ran from tumblr to GracieLoo to robin's nests to the country. Somehow when I got back here I found my way to La Boheme...see the translation for Che Gelida Manina! I think this part is so moving--and this is how I feel: the life of a poet, poor in money--rich in dreams. Scraping for some kind of job...hmm.. but I'd rather be rich in "dreams and visions," squandering rhymes and love songs. ... Sounds like the life to me! :-)
"Chi son? Sono un poeta.
Che cosa faccio? Scrivo.
E come vivo? Vivo."
Who am I? I am a poet.
What do I do? I write.
How do I live? I live.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I a French Press!!

One week ago, I was filling up my car and on the road, I-75, in Southwest Florida. Now, I'm sitting (with my fuzzy socks on--okay, even though it is 75 degrees out) on my bed at home--in the country, a good drive from the nearest Interstate.

I am now a college grad! It's hard to believe how fast the past four years went by, and how hard it was to say goodbye to such dear friends! I imagine you don't make friends like college friends anywhere else: the crazy lifestyle, living hour by hour, from caffiene in the middle of the night to 4 hour naps in the middle of the day. The intellectual pressure (maybe just at Ave?)--of the academic life, and taking four different subjects, each demanding all of one's attention and efforts. The 'freedom'--to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want: i.e. Rosie Posie, wanna go to Immokalee?...and 10 min. later we are in the car..why? because we felt like it. And so many of our friendships are bonded by random moments like these that do not turn out to be so random in the end. ...And now, I'm entering (or at least attempting to enter) the working world. Making money to pay bills and make a living, something I've never seriously had to do before.

Anyway. It's been great to be home. I noticed something as I made the last 30 mile stretch by my lonesome driving home from Florida: the country here, the farmland I grew up on, has been a staple to my worldview. As I drove home I looked around, and amidst the absence of traffic, I saw how familiar I am with the land here...that patch of trees, this random turn in the road, that old run-down building that has been there for a hundred years...stakes of life having been lived here, a hard life for many and easy for me. I am the fruit, or benefit from the fruit of so many people's hard work here in the middle of no(h)where No(h)rth Dako(h)tah. And the life that people live here is very much intertwined with the changing and passing of the seasons, the uncontrollable weather, the hands of Someone else.

Amidst all this, I also decided just this morning that I graduated to a french press and will begin my search to buy the perfect one. I have always had a fanciful view of French Presses--they seem so refined, requiring skillful coffee making skills, patience and time;; and an apartment or house which would hold the French Press (rather than a dorm room, which was my reason for not buying one for years: it wouldn't go well with a dorm room). But today I decided that while the next few months will probably be stressful (finding a job..moving yet again), I will be enjoying a French Press. Then, in searching online for french press images and info, I found this cool link-- check it out if you want.

Have a great Feast of the Ascension. Words from Father John's homily: Christ rose from the dead and brought humanity to the right hand of God in Heaven. The only thing that stops you from being there is sin.