Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Flawed Alphabet

As swiped from Natty, who swiped it from Sr. Claire Joy, who got it from her daughter-in-law who apparently never had anyone say to her: "Now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me?"

Accent: Dunno. People have sometimes been surprised when I say I'm from DC – "Really? You don't sound like you have a Boston accent!" When I did my internship in Milwaukee, some folks thought I was from Iowa ... maybe those college years in Dayton did it? I don't think I have anything too pronounced — I'm definitely avoiding the southern Indiana thing where people apparently pray to the Lard and where Jesus was barn in a barn (one friend of mine would joke about how the poor Israelites wandered in the desert for farty days and farty nights).

Booze of choice: One of the top questions I get with vocation talks is "Can you drink?" My response always is: "As long as you make a distinction between 'having a drink' and 'getting plastered'." I'm not much of a beer person (maybe I've just not had the right stuff?), but I'll do wine, margaritas (margariti?), daiquiris, hard lemonade, that kind of flavored stuff. Before I entered a friend got me into Root Beer schnapps with Coke, and peppermint schnapps always added a nice touch to a cup of hot chocolate (or a milkshake!).

Chore I hate: Most generically, cleaning. Especially when I'm in an extraordinarily heavy German-Catholic atmosphere where it sometimes seems like the phrase has morphed into "Godliness is next to cleanliness." I don't know, there's something about cleaning non-existant dirt that can come across as mildly annoying, especially if you have differing opinions of "clean." And while I do understand that it's nice to have clean sidewalks ... leaves may occasionally fall on them — that's the nature of outdoorsy locations. (There's the story of the time when we still had the boarding school and some of the girls were helping out on our Grotto Hill, but after a while they began to wonder about their assigned task of raking leaves .... in the forest!) But, truly, we do have a beautiful place that lasts because it's so well-maintained — I'm just not so into the elbow-grease side of maintaining. I do like polishing and stuff like that. Poopy diapers and puke, though, not so much (although somehow I've managed 14 nieces and nephews without a single diaper change!).

Dog or cat: Cats can have nice snuggle-factor, but are pretty stand-offish. Dogs acknowledge your presence once in a while and want to play, which is very nice. Of course, then you have ones like Tigger, the cat who thought he was a dog (came when you called, ran to greet you, etc.). We've got both here at the monastery, although nothing super-snugglable. I did dream once that I had a pet puma ....

Essential electronics: There was a lot more to this list before I entered (sigh!). Palmy has remained a big one, but now he sometimes decides to just arbitrarily reset himself and clear out his memory, so I can't depend on him very much these days -- and haven't figured out fitting a new one into my monastic budget. I do have a digital camera, but my non-electric all-manual Pentax K1000 is definitely more essential than Digi. (The names Palmy and Digi are registered trademarks; swiped from my brother, who also has Lappy and I'm not sure what else.). Oh, and do CDs count? (iPods are another desired-yet-non-monastic-budgetary kind of item).

Favorite perfume(s): Ummmm .... it's been a while. So much of a while that I don't remember the names of the ones I liked. Not that I wore much anyway.

Gold or Silver: Silver ... although I've had to shift to a gold chain for my "official" Benedictine medal.

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland (suburban Washington DC), with a more recent "home" of Columbia, Maryland (straddling the line between suburban Washington and suburban Baltimore). Now .... Middle of Nowheresville, Indiana.

Insomnia?: Generally, I don't have a problem falling asleep. Sometimes I have a problem going to bed .... but the bigger issue is what goes on at the morning end of the sleep cycle.

Job Title: Theology Teacher

Kids?: 14 nieces and nephews. I remember my brother calling after his daughter was born: "Steph, whatever you do, don't have kids. It sucks! I'm used to playing with them, and then when they start yelping, I hand 'em off to someone else. Now they're giving her to me! I don't want her when she's all stinky!" This way is great. I get to have "Most Favorite Aunt" status without the diapers or discipline. Of course, with the 108 kids that I have on a regular basis, I'm not so off-the-hook .... at least not with the discipline.

Living Arrangement: House in Loovul with four other sisters (nun-sisters, not sibling-sisters), with lots of stops back at the Monastery for weekends, vacations, etc. I see it kinda like when I was in college, where the dorm was home, but I'd go home to my parents' house; I have a home in Loovul, but home is the Monastery.

Most Admired Trait: I'm not sure how admired it is, but .... causing trouble? Although, for as much of an instigating troublemaker as I claim to be, deep down I'm such a brownnosing goody-two-shoes at heart it makes me sick! But I do have a decent sense of humor ( I think so, anyway) .... poetic ponderings .... good listener, observant, good people-sense .... I don't know, maybe Jeana can help me out with this one .... please? I even made you a hedgehog!

Number of Sexual Partners: May I refer you to Elizabeth's question ...

Overnight Hospital Stays: Two rounds, but neither for me. One was when I worked in the boarding school and I had to stay with one of my kids who had been coughing so much she ripped a hole in her throat. My only question was why they felt the need to empty the trash can at 2:30 in the morning? And do lots of shaking open of the plastic bag? And clanging the can? As tall me attempted to sleep on the little chair next to the kid's bed? Not that I'm bitter. The other time was this past fall, when I went to go sit with Terence through the night.

Phobia: Puking. Truly. Phobic. Not just sympathetic puker, not just "don't like it." Truly truly phobic. I realized that when I worked at the boarding school – one of my kids was really sick and I was there in the hallway thinking "She really needs some help" but being thoroughly paralyzed to do anything about it ... even though it was my job. Then one time a good friend and I were camping and she discovered half a moth in her mac&cheese (the other half was in the bite she took). She bolted to the bathroom and I bolted in the opposite direction. After a while of beating myself up for what a horrible friend I am as we're out in the middle of the woods and she's (I'm guessing) puking her guts out and I can't even see how she's doing? After all, she was gone a while. But, even still, I could only make it to the edge of our campsite. I hadn't thrown up since fifth grade, and then a couple years ago I threw up once in my brother's driveway and wouldn't eat for several days because I was so wigged out (it was the family holiday illness -- another brother ended up in the hospital from it); then just two months later at a retreat I did again, and was super wigged out. I dread flu season at the monastery, because down in the building I stay in around here we have communal bathrooms, and I can't even hear it without freaking out. Even in January this year, when I got sick at school – I thought for sure I was going to lose it, but just opening the door to the bathroom I knew I just could not bring myself to "assume the position" (neither of my two semi-recent times did I use an appropriate receptacle), so I dove on the couch and remained absolutely still until someone drove me home. My ultimate paranoid and paralyzing phobia. But .... enough puke talk, no?

Quote: This, along with X, is my add-in. I'm always up for cool quotes. Which of course makes this a little more of a challenge for me to pick just one, but I'll have to go with one of my old standbys .... in AP World Lit senior year of high school, Mrs. K. got mad at us because none of us could tell her what the peasant philosophy of Anna Karenina was – "It's on page 26!" (She didn't like our class too much – especially when it got to the interpreting poetry section.) Anyway, apparently the peasant philosophy of Anna Karenina is "It will all come right somehow." It's gonna happen the way it's supposed to happen. Or, as Jeana's quote from Julian of Norwich says: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Religion: Catholic, but probably shattering just as many Catholic stereotypes as I am nun-myths.

Siblings: Three brothers and two sisters; some lurk around here but don't show their faces .... but I know you're out there!!!

Time I wake up: Let's see .... is this "time my alarm[s] go off", "time I should wake up", "time I do wake up", "time I wake up the second [or more] time", or "time I actually haul my butt out of bed"? (See Insomnia question). At the house we have morning prayer at 6:20 during the week; at the monastery it's at 7. I've perfected the speed-wake, though, and can leap out of bed and up the gazillion stairs to the monastery church in five minutes if necessary; I prefer a little more time, though, if possible.

Unusual talent/skill: Apparently some people would say it's when I "give them the eyebrow." And then other people, who shall remain nameless, insist that it's my "talented toes." I, however, always claim my ability to make my tongue into a W (one of these days I'll take a picture and post it) — I've found maybe six other people who can do it. Janelle Lee in third grade could do it and I thought it was the coolest thing so I practiced lots and lots until now I can do it without wedging my tongue between my teeth, staring in a mirror, or even thinking about it. See all the great things you can accomplish with a little determination???

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Hmmmm .... lots of possibilities here, unfortunately enough. I have problems with cooked spinach sometimes (it's too stringy to chew but it's also too stringy to just swallow down whole), but I think the hands-down unfavorite would be lima beans (no matter what's been done to them, they still are drier than a desert on the inside) and/or brussell sprouts (there's even just the whole smell thing going on there. That, plus my sister had her kids convinced for a while that there actually was no such thing as Brussell Sprouts – the vegetable that becomes the humorous centerpiece of our family Thanksgiving table).

Worst habit: Well, Natty said procrastination, but .... I'm not sure. I'll have to think about that one for a bit. Oh wait, but first I need to go scrub out some tile grout ..... oh shoot, have I not answered that question yet? There are just so many less important things that I have to do before I can get this one major thing finis......

Xenophobia or Xenophilia?: I suppose I'd say xenophilia. Although I found lots of very cool X-words to use (since this was one of the neglected letters in the original), I figured this was the most appropriate question-type set of words. Check 'em out, though .... lotsa fun!

Yummy foods I make: In my "former" life at the apartment, I had a speciality in burgers (special ones, though, extra-yummy) and milkshakes (best milkshakes anywhere, still are!). Now some of my specialities include my mom's lasagna and her Crown Coffee Cake; what I call "Gretchen Cassarole" since I got the recipe from my college roommate Gretchen when we made it all the time; I've got an awesome foccacia recipe that I've adapted and turned into a top-notch pizza crust; plus, my patented Snowman Soup (yes I know I still owe you some, Andrea!), Chocolate Peanut-Butter Goop; ummmm .... lotsa options. Nothing overly healthy, though (see Vegetable question). JJ ~~ Care to add your favorites? (I should have put "Inability to Make a Decision Without a Consult" up there with "worst habit"...)

Zodiac sign: Scorpiogo to main page


Blogger Highlander said...

I stumbled across your blog while looking up Ferdinand. I love reading it because I'm an MHA graduate and some of your stories of the Sisters on the Hill just make me smile. Thanks for the happy thoughts of you "Black and White Squad cars" I mean Sisters.
Love to all the Benedictins in Ferdinand.

4/06/2006 10:46 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Glad I represent us well! I started visiting right after the school closed, but I've heard lots of stories of "Life with the Academy girls" .... thanks for the Hello!

4/07/2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Kiker said...


I thought you had fallen off the face of the earth...then this! Fun post, kiddo.

But I am pouting because I don't have a hedgehog AND you never offered ME any snowman soup. ;)

4/07/2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

I'm sorry you didn't get an offer of snowman soup, but seeing my name on her list made me laugh...and what could be a better way to start the day?

4/07/2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Well, Kiker .... send me your snail mail & I'll get right on it. Andrea can vouch for my timeliness!

4/07/2006 1:37 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

You pray the psalms, and I assume you incorporate them into your life.

To your eyes a thousand years
are like yesterday, come and gone,
no more than a watch in the night (Psalm 90).


4/07/2006 5:06 PM  
Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

I haven't forgotten about you; I was hoping to make a comment based on A, B and C.


4/07/2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

Okay, I looked away and somewhere in there you added another 23 letters to A, B and C. And I do thank you for your thoughtful, thought-inspiring thoughts, as always.

4/08/2006 10:50 AM  

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