Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where'd it go?

Can I mention that I'm mildly stressed?????

Way too much to do. As of a couple weeks ago, I was way on-track, plenty of time to cover all that needed to be covered for school. Now, all of the sudden, it's all disappeared. And I haven't even gotten to the Reformation yet! Yes, I still (theoretically) have the whole month of May, but considering that we meet only every other day, and exams are coming up, and I need lots more grades, and ..... sigh. Between Spring Break and needing to ease back in after all the tragedies, things just kinda snuck up on me.

Anyone got a Time-Turner I can borrow? Please?!?!?

Monday, April 23, 2007

A friend for a friend .....

I made one of these a while back for a friend of mine ..... after having made one for another very dear friend of mine, I discovered that there's really no way to send it to her, except via my blog (unless I just send the link for the page, but that's no fun, right?) So, without further ado ..... here's my little buddy for ya. (Click on his head for hiding, and feed him from the "More" tab)
And, in honor of a well-loved pastime of ours ..... (for some extra fun, you can taunt him with the food — give him a bite, then pull the bread away!)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Visit #20,000 ....

..... comes from my Ol' Stomping Grounds of Balmer, Murland (or, Baltimore Maryland, for those of you not familiar with the world of "amblances")! Why, yes, though .... I can see the question brewing — "I thought she was from our Nation's Capital." And, well, yes, technically that's true. Well, sort of technically, anyway. I'm actually from the Maryland suburbs — if you remember the sniper from a few years back, how he killed five people within a 1-mile radius during the first couple hours of his rampage? Well, right in the middle of that circle is the house in which I grew up, and to which I still return on various holidays and vacations. So, while growing up, "Downtown" for me meant DC, the Beltway was I-495, and the professional sport to follow was football. However, for the last three years before I entered the community, I was living in Columbia, which pretty much straddles the Baltimore Metropolitan Area/Washington Metropolitan Area boundary line. My friends from there would refer to a totally different "downtown", refer to I-695 as the Beltway, and their sporting event of choice was baseball. The added bonus for me was that I was volunteering in my parish up there, and teaching at a Catholic school down by DC, so I couldn't even hear someone speak of the Archdiocese or the Cardinal without having to put lots of thought into where I was.

But ...... that's all a horribly moot point, and a full load of nothingness. All I really wanted to say was that it was nice to click to see where Visit #20,000 was visiting from, and to see what still holds a piece of "home" in my heart peeking back.

So thanks, Sinai Hospital, whoever you are. Say hi to the Harbor, and eat some crabcakes for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"No One Deserves a Tragedy"

Driving home today, NPR's Talk of the Nation ended with Nikki Giovanni's words at the close of the convocation today at Virginia Tech (video clip).

I was especially struck by her broadening view of the word "tragedy" — extending it to not just the big deals that make the news, but simply stating that "No one deserves a tragedy."

Makes me think of the article in the paper last week about our student dying .... one of the comments posted was "Her obituary is posted on today's obituaries. Bless her heart, she's beautiful too." What, so it'd be OK if she was an ugly kid? Does that make it any worse that she's beautiful, or talented, or popular? Does being shy and homely make a student somehow more expendable?

According to Catholic social teaching, ALL of us are beloved children of God. ALL of us have been made in the image and likeness of God. As such, ALL of us are worthy of inherent dignity and respect.

As the Good Doctor (Seuss, that is) once said: "A person's a person, no matter how small."
We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on; we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly. We are brave enough to bend to cry, and sad enough to know we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it.

But neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS. Neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory. Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water. Neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of night in his crib in the home its father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destablized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility. We will continue to invent the future.

Through our blood and tears, through all this sadness, we are the Hokies.

We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

Monday, April 16, 2007

For all victims and perpetrators of violence .....

The overriding theme in my classroom this year, in terms of rules, seems to be summed up in my oft-repeated "Play nice."

Play nice.

Such simple words, they almost seem inappropriate for a 10th grade classroom.

Such a simple concept, too. You know, that whole "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" idea?

And yet ..... apparently it's not that easy to learn.

Many thoughts and prayers go out to the Virginia Tech community.

Many thoughts and prayers, too, though, go out to those many many many more people who aren't part of the "deadliest shooting rampage in US history" .... and who therefore don't make the news.

At our monastery, we often add this intention at Morning Prayer: For _____, who is scheduled to be executed today in _____, for all victims and perpetrators of violence, and for an end to the death penalty, let us pause a moment in silence.

Today, I feel the need for a rewrite:
For all victims and perpetrators of violence, and for an end to all the craziness, hatred, and rage in the world, let us pause a moment in silence.

Is it really that hard to just play nice?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"You know neither the hour nor the day...."

Over the course of the past five weeks or so, our school has encountered the following sudden deaths:
¤¤¤ husband of a counselling office secretary
¤¤¤ husband of the campus minister
¤¤¤ father of a sophomore
¤¤¤ husband of a counselor
¤¤¤ a sophomore

And that's not including the multitude of grandparents that we've had recently, either.

We've been on spring break for the last two, so I'm sure there will be folks arriving Monday morning who haven't heard. Still not really sure what happened with the sophomore — perhaps something heart-related (though I don't think she had heart problems), not a car crash or anything of that nature. However, she was on vacation with her mother and three friends (thank God it was her mother that was with them — can you imagine if you were the mother of a friend who was there when this happened?!?!?) .... I didn't have her, but I have all three of the friends she was with.

Different situation than another local school had to deal with this year, but still ..... which is worse, a preventable accident or an unexplainable unawakening?

Either way, it's not really the best time for the Clueless One (aka me) to get to be an official Sophomore Religion Teacher Nun ......

Makes me think of last year, when I did my "Life Lessons With Sister Stephanie", after some of the more tragic deaths at the monastery — about how you never know the impact your stupid little nothings might have on others, and how we never know how long we'll have people with us ......

We've got a faculty meeting at 7:15, then a prayer service first thing at 8:00. I just realized tonight, though, that the seniors got an extended spring break, so theoretically none of them will be there tomorrow. But then it'll be 80-minute periods, which somehow I'm thinking that this really won't be the time to explain the mutual hissy-fit temper-tantrums that led to the creation of the Orthodox Church as an independent entity separate from that of Rome. What we will do, however, is still a mystery to me .......

Our school has about 800 girls. I've got 120 of the 200 or so sophomores; there are probably another 50 or so of them that I had last semester but not this semester. Big enough school that people don't necessarily know her, but small enough that everyone will be hit pretty hard. And enough close ties to the other Catholic high schools that it's not just our issue to deal with.

So send prayers, please, to our little corner of Loovul. We could use all the help we can get.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

What if ......?

Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, was asked the same question. What did he think would occur, hypothetically, if one of the world's great violinists had performed incognito before a traveling rush-hour audience of 1,000-odd people?
The Washington Post wanted to find out. They got Joshua Bell to be just your average (excellent) street musician in a Metro station for an hour during rush-hour. Interesting to read the results. Even more interesting to see the video capsule of what happened.

On a more seasonal note ..... they apparently also had a Peeps Diorama Contest.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Blogging the Monastic Triduum

Now might be the time, if'n ya wanna, to revisit my sequence from last year on "Blogging the Monastic Triduum" ....

Entering into the Silence
Prelude to Holy Week
Holy Thursday (aka Bells'n'Smells)
Good Friday (A Time to Reconcile)
Holy Saturday (As We Wait in the Silence)
Easter Vigil (The Readings)
Easter Vigil (Service of Light)
Easter Monday (aka The Morning After)
Kathleen Norris on Easter Monday
Who Links Here