Saturday, March 17, 2007

What is going on?????

A couple weeks ago, the golf coach at my housemate Jeana's school (who also is dad to one of her kids) just randomly died in his sleep. A week and a half ago, one of our counselling secretaries' husband dropped dead — he was getting off their elliptical machine in their basement when she heard a thud, and that was pretty much it. This was a Tuesday night; they had this whole elaborate scheme worked out with their daughter's boyfriend so he could propose that Saturday; instead of a romantic proposal, she got her father's funeral. Tonight, I get home and find a note that my department chair called — the husband of our campus minister died unexpectedly. Their daughter lives in China, and they were going to be leaving in two weeks to go visit her for a couple weeks.

I was at a friend's house tonight, and one person came in from working at one of the hospitals (I'm assuming -- she was in scrubs) and said "It was a good day — the people who were supposed to live, did, and the people who were supposed to die, died." Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the way things are working these days.

And that's not even mentioning the grand return of the cancer emails from our prioress .....

Benedict tells us to "keep death daily before our eyes" ..... is this really what he meant, though?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pi Day Greetings from Cow Country (aka Middle of Nowheresville)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Envelope, Please ....

Random Bullets of Bulletable Randomness ... The Awards Edition

¤ The "Did-You-Really-Mean-To-Say-That" comment of the day: You look so cute in your shirt and pants. And the alternative?????

¤ The "Really-I-Understand-You're-Just-Nervous" comment of Freshman Registration: [Standing at the R-Z basket of folders] Welcome. How can I help you tonight? I'm here to pick up my packet — my last name begins with R. And the second letter? A. [Meanwhile, chuckling mom is standing behind her, telling her to just say her name.] Fortunately, the kid could join us in enjoying the entertainment of the moment, though she was still somewhat sheepish and embarrassed. But really, it's allowed. After all, it's a big night for the eighth-graders. Besides, at least her mom had her go up and talk to us to get the packet, as opposed to the parents who were doing all the talking .... or the kids who just stood there on their cell phones and made their parents do everything ....

¤ The "What-A-Waste-Of-Random-Rebelliousness" thought of last Friday: Beautiful sunshiney day .... 70 degrees .... no school (because of freshman registration the night before) .... heading off to a weekend at the Monsterary for community meetings .... grand success in getting thoroughly caught up with all the grading (quarter ends this Friday) .... getting dressed (after a morning and early afternoon in pj's) .... deciding that Santa socks are really the way to go .... and no one even noticed!!!!!

¤ The "Nice-Save" comment of the classroom: [Student working supposed to be working on project with her group, yet somehow has managed to mislocate herself to the other side of the computer lab to a more entertaining conversational partner. Madame Teacher Nun reminds student's internal GPS to the actual location of her legitimate group, slightly irritating the positionally-challenged pupil.] Jesus Christ ... is my savior!

¤ The "I-Can't-Even-Answer-With-Anything-Other-Than-A-Laugh-And-Shaking-Of-The-Head" question of Group #3: [Students are in mini-monastic communities, deciding on and writing a Rule for Life, with various requirements that need to be hashed out, like how they'll do charity, elect superiors, etc.] Does it have to be all-boys or all-girls? We want to have a co-ed monastery, with hot tub parties every Friday.

¤ The "I'm-Beginning-To-Notice-A-Theme" moment of the afternoon: [Different group and class/section, same project] Can we do bikini carwashes to raise money for the poor? We'll do bikinis and a habit. This group also wins the "What-A-Difference-One-Letter-Could-Make" prize for the name of their group: Nuns in Naples [Got spring break on the minds, girls?]

¤ The "What-A-Difference-One-Hard-Return/Line-Break-Makes" snippet from emailed announcements: Someone had submitted a note in letter form to be included in the announcements; when it was included, it was in paragraph form. Consequently, what should probably have read as a "Sincerely yours" type of sentiment instead came out as the rather ambiguous "God bless you, Sister Mary Note-Writer."

¤ The "You-Have-A-Point-There" statement during a tornado drill: If this was the real thing, do you really think we'd all be quiet? [Although I suppose you don't have to talk to be texting ....]

¤ The "Aww, Shucks" line of the weekend: [The Reluctant Nun™ always thinks it's a cool idea to draw individual little Christmas cards for all 175+ members of her religious community ... until it's Christmas Eve, and she's kicking herself, wondering what she was thinking, while she's trying frantically to finish writing the little notes on the back. During community meetings this past weekend, a sister who TRN™ doesn't know all that well and who lives/works maybe 3 hours away from the monsterary passes TRN™ on the stairs] I want you to know that I only have two Christmas cards still — the one from my parents and yours. [TRN™ sheepishly kind of hems and haws, dismissing it as something that she kicks herself for] No, really ... it's a real ministry. [TRN™ just hopes that Distant Sister remembers to write that on TRN™'s evaluation form.]

¤ The "Wow-They-Really-Do-Listen-Sometimes" Lenten enlightenments [there's a tie]: A teacher reports being asked by a student what he's going to give up for Lent; he says he's giving up McDonald's so he can lose weight; student severely chastises him that if you're doing it just for you, then that doesn't count. A parent (of a different student) during conferences comments that her daughter says she's not religious, but the mom knows she's at least learning something — during a conversation about the beginning of Lent, mom gets told off by her daughter that losing weight is not the point of a Lenten resolution, that it can be a side benefit but not the primary purpose. Mom then says that she'll give up the vending machines at work; girl then questions the motivations there as well — is she doing it for the sacrifice, or just to not spend the money?

¤ The "OK-So-Maybe-It's-Worth-It" warm fuzzy of teaching: Last semester, while teaching New Testament, the students also received the bonus education of guided lectio divina. [Some perhaps liked it more for the quiet potential for semi-officially-sanctioned naptime, but still ...] Today, the practice was re-introduced for the first time this semester, with a quick overview given for the students who missed out and got stuck with had the other nun— and immediately the "old-timers" settled right back into it again.

¤ The "Just-When-You-Throught-It-Couldn't-Get-Any-More-Awkward" purely hypothetical trauma of the month: The Reluctant Nun™ has, on occasion, been known to feel mildly self-conscious about initiating conversations about even semi-serious stuff, especially if it is a situation in which her self-esteem-of-a-toothpick kicks in. So, to save the initial heebie-jeebiedness, she has, on occasion, been known to write a note instead, to at least get the ball rolling. That, of course, generates a realm of awkwardness all its own, for then there's the "What will they think? It's stupid to write a note when they're right there. Will they say something, or do I just squirm?" So perhaps, on an occasion when TRN™ knew there'd be some late-afternoon captive-audience time in a car for conversation, perhaps a note was dropped into the top of a purse. Squirminess may have been avoided for the bulk of the trip, until perhaps the passenger in the car went to put sunglasses away in the last moments of the trip and lets out an "Oh, what's this?" while pulling out a little folded paper, opening it up, and reading it. I'mTRN™'s telling you, that was hypothetically could be the longest mile and a half ever travelled!!!

¤ And lastly, but definitely not leastly ... The "Will-You-All-Ever-Forgive-Me-And/Or-Believe-Me-When-I-Say-I'll-Be-Better-About-Blogging" question of the year: Ummm .... wait a second, I just asked it. Great, now I'll never be able to show my face around these parts again. .... Except .... my face doesn't show on here (not unless you look for it). And it's not like my face has been unshown much here lately anyway ..... hmmmmm.....

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Saddest E-mail Blog Post You Have Ever Seen

Laundry Tip #749

When using a Downy ball in the laundering process, it may be beneficial to occasionally check the machinery to ensure that aforementioned Downy ball has not nestled itself securely within a pants leg, thereby invalidating the use of said Downy ball and requiring a second-level laundering of the pants leg.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Overheard in the Classroom ... Deja Vu Edition

This whole HPV vaccine is all the conversational rage these days ..... one kid had gotten it (the vaccine, NOT the disease), so someone else was asking her if it hurt or anything like that.

Questioning Student [turning suddenly to the teacher]: Sr. Steph Umm, I mean Madame Teacher Nun*, have you gotten the vaccine yet?
Madame Teacher Nun [thinking nothing of the question]: No.
Neighbor of Questioning Student [with a very strong "What kind of a stupid idiot are you?" tone]: She doesn't need that — she's a NUN!

*This is a purely hypothetical story. Any similarities to real names should be ignored. Oops!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Overheard in the Classroom

Church History ..... doing a special segment on monasticism (gee, I wonder why?) .... I pulled out various bits from our book (since they have a little bit of monks in Chapter 5, a bit more in Chapter 6, even more in Chapter 7 — sometimes chronologically doesn't make the best sense), made up a worksheet of questions, and then split the kids into groups to read and present their section to the rest of the class.

First group? Presenting the sections on "Why Monasticism" and other background details.
Setting the stage .... Loquacious Student is describing how the early monks went out into the desert to seek God, detailing how desolate and wilderness-y the desert is.

Loquacious Student [interrupting herself to ask a nun-question]: Do you all ever do that?
Reluctant Nun™ [realizing she should be paying better attention]: Huh?
LS: Go out into the wilderness and just look at it, be all quiet and all that?
RN™ [pausing, beginning to comment about how nice that sounds]
LS #2 [surprisingly enough, there's more than one of them! Said with a bit of a "Duh" tone to LS #1]: Yeah, it's called "camping."
LS #1: I know that. But we talk when we camp.
I need to liveblog my classes more often .....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why I've been muse-less ....

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