Monday, August 23, 2010

Tales from the Awesome

My life is awesome, and I'm not ashamed of telling you.

I guess I should be expected to substantiate claims like this, so I will offer you proof positive: I made my own lavender sugar last night.

I've been meaning to get some for a while now, but it's not the sort of product Giant Eagle or Trader Joe's carries. Whole Foods seemed the right place to look, since Keith has found rosewater for me there; however, they didn't have it either.

I was told so by someone over the phone, and I was reluctant to believe him. So I searched their website and found this recipe.

I am pretty delighted with the results. I reduced the ingredients to 3/4c of sugar and 1tbsp lavender flowers. I didn't bother to google pictures until after making it, so I didn't realize it was okay to still have whole buds floating around; the result is that I nearly pulverized the sugar. At first I thought my handheld blender was smoking; then I realized it was puffs of sugar dust.

It still turned out wonderfully, and is very pretty to look at. Or would be, if I had something other than a tupperware container to store it in.

As if this wasn't enough evidence of My Awesome Life, I have more to offer.

  • Amazon emailed to inform me that my copy of Mockingjay has shipped. (Granted, I didn't have Amazon Prime when I pre-ordered it a few months ago, so it won't get here in two days; but it should still arrive before school starts. Guess how I'll be spending next weekend?)

  • I brewed my first cup of loose leaf Earl Grey tea. I added lavender sugar to it. I don't think I can even attempt to desribe this.

  • Keith burned a DVD of the latest Hercule Poirot episode. (Poirot's a Belgian! A Walloon! We must be related.)

  • Keith also made me dinner--fettuccine with peas, asparagus, pancetta, and lemon.

  • I made an amazing dessert, using, of course, my Amazing Lavender Sugar.
(The image is from Design*Sponge, not me. My own effort was much less picturesque. But still tasty.)

Any one of these things would be more than enough Awesome for one evening; but in all seriousness, my life is one of abundance. Praise God.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the hidden lovely truth

To a Long Loved Love: 7

Because you're not what I would have you be
I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.
Seeking mirage where desert blooms, I mar
Your you. Aaah, I would like to see
Past all delusion to reality:
Then I would see God's image in your face,
His hand in yours, and in your eyes his grace.
Because I'm not what I would have me be,
I idolize Two who are not any place,
Not you, not me, and so we never touch.
Reality would burn. I do not like it much.
And yet in you, in me, I find a trace
Of love which struggles to break through.
The hidden lovely truth of me, of you.

-Madeleine L'Engle, The Weather of the Heart

To see myself from inside is all flaws and tangles
and my fear is that the good,
the lovely, is just veneer
for the broken.

If you find me
in this place,
will you love me
will you bring yourself
will God grant us light to see by

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blogs You Should Read: "Philokalia" and "No More Than Pen and Ink"

I need to add links to the sidebar at some point; but in any case, one of the things I'd like to do here is share awesome things online. Maybe a little bit like tumbl'r, only perhaps more thoughtfully. (I refuse to get a tumbl'r account because it would kill my time, oh yes it would. But I do understand the appeal.)


This blog is run by Fr. David Abernathy of the Pittsburgh Oratory. He will be leading a study of this book, starting in September, which I'm looking forward to attending, classes permitting. It consists of his own reflections on the Philokalia, a collection of texts by the Eastern Fathers. "Philokalia" means "love of the beautiful," and thus, "a love for everything of God, beauty’s source."

I've only read a few posts on here, but they are amazing. For example, the latest is about the Eternal Beauty that Saves the World.

And also, Father David is a wonderful priest. So you should read his blog. :)

No More Than Pen and Ink

Here Marlin Klingensmith shares his work and, more recently, posts reflections on writing. His stories are always a smart and enjoyable read--the worlds he creates of words are tangible enough to taste the air of them.

Actually, I've always loved reading most anything Lyn writes. His voice draws you in and keeps you reading, whether fiction or regular prose. So you should read it. (And comment. He posts more when people comment.)

Holy Shamoly ...

I got 59 hits over here today! Which is ... not a lot in the scheme of things, but you know, it's the most my little blog's ever gotten in one day. My readership is small but dependable, and then there's Twitter and the magic of tags. So--wootness. :)

As for this even littler blog, it is still going through a process of self-discovery. I have been reading too many design blogs lately, and so sometimes it asks to be that. That's when I remind it that I know nothing about design, am not remotely artistic or crafty--at least not in a successful way--and can't live up to its dreams.


That being said, I have measured Keith's couch for a slipcover. It currently lives in my apartment, and it is a very masculine shade of charcoal grey. Needless to say it will be getting in touch with its feminine side in the not-too-distant future.

I have also started my toilet paper wall art venture--so there will be a post on that soon.

I get so carried away with plans of redecorating that I forget I have a new roommate moving in less than two weeks from now, and she may, in fact, have something to say about how the apartment looks.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tears of Joy

(I don't intend to double post here and there very often, but for once at least I am.)

My grades are all turned in! Now to sit back and wait for the emails of complaint ...

Anyway, that is not the event this post title refers to. I was reading the blog of the Poor Clare nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, in Alabama. My cousin Regina was invested in July, which means she is now a novice! And she has received a new name: Sister Chiara Marie of Jesus, Our True Light.

I am so proud of her, and so joyful for her, even as I miss her. Take a moment to see how beautiful she is.

My other cousin--Regina's sister--sent me that blog post, as well as the reminder that my deadline is a week from yesterday, and I ought to be writing. (She is serving as my "professor," the one I'll turn the draft in to.)

I suppose I ought to listen to her ... she'd make a tough prof.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

with all of your self

Perhaps "fancy" is a misleading title for this blog. So far it has been fanciful; but often I fancy things that are philosophical, thoughtful. When these things grab hold of my brain and churn around for a couple of days without letting go, I release the pressure by blogging. So maybe "Rosemary's Obsession" would be more honest.

In any case. Welcome to this blog's first "philosophical" post.

On Sunday I got together with Kim and Nicole, two writing friends from college who I hadn't seen from graduation. We went shopping at Target (clothes! silverware! cereal bowls!), ate at Steak and Shake, and got coffee at Eat'n'Park. We talked about writing and undergrad and life and love.

Love. As a Catholic, I think this may be the simplest truth about the universe. We are all held in existence by Love. But we are fallen, broken, and our souls are full of jagged corners and rough edges that complicate things.

I asked Nicole how she defined love (and the context here was romantic love), and she answered: love is when you give yourself completely, your entire heart, everything. (This is my paraphrase, not her words.)

That answer struck me as wise. Nicole and I have different ideas about relationships in many respects; and yet I agree with this.

I believe in saving sex for marriage. To those who know me as thoroughly Catholic, this comes as no surprise; but I it's not just a "Catholic" thing. In fact, as I mull over Nicole's definition of love, I find that it is reason enough to save sex for marriage. Not that love (emotional, platonic, sexual, spiritual, etc) is a subject I can plumb in a blog post; but explaining my own decision from a standpoint that makes sense to non-Catholics? Perhaps I can touch on this.

Human beings have a body and a soul (or spirit, to use a less religious term). I am well aware there are people out there who disagree that we have anything beyond a body; but I don't think this is a religious difference. I know very few people, religious or otherwise, who don't believe in a spirit on one level or another: this mystery of having a personality, of being a Person. If we don't have a spirit of some kind--if we are mere bodies driven by elaborate instincts--then love is not a reality at all, beyond a chemical trick to get us to reproduce. (And one that isn't doing a very good job in these days of Pills and "protection," I might add.)

BUT. This is not a blog post about whether or not people have souls. My argument is that these two parts of us--body and spirit--are not two separate entities, but equal parts of the same person, and thus inseparable. Now there is, of course, death. You may believe that, after death, the spirit passes away with the body; you may believe the spirit is born in another body; you may believe the spirit wanders around without a body, ghostlike; you may believe that both, eventually, will be resurrected. You may, sometime in your life, even have an out-of-body experience. But as you walk around the world, eating and talking and laughing and crying--as you read this--they are equally you.

This is something we take for granted, without thinking: we get tattoos and piercings, we dress a certain way, style our hair, and so forth. Our bodies are means of expressing and revealing (or hiding) our spirit.

There is also music. Its creation is a very physical thing: strings and wood and air rippling in sound waves. So is our experience of it. We have nerves and ear drums and cells that transmit chemicals and folds in our brain that store the memory of it. And yet music is not a mere physical phenomenon--it isn't even strictly necessary. Some people love music that others simply call noise; we type our favorite bands in our Facebook profiles. Our connection to music is emotional, and at its highest a spiritual experience. We make and receive it through our bodies, but it speaks to our souls. (I think art in general is one of the best proofs that 1) we have a spirit, and 2) it is irrevocably tied to our bodies, these concrete parts of us.)

The key to being whole and at peace with ourselves is to be at peace with our bodies and our souls. They are meant to function together, to compliment each other.

I think that Nicole was right: that love means being able to give all of your heart, your self, everything. And sex is the physical expression of that reality. Not just symbolically, but literally, because your body is just as much a part of you as your spirit, your heart. Your body--including, of course, your sexuality--is part of the everything that makes you up as a person.(And true love involves giving ALL of your sexuality--not withholding your fecundity. But that is yet another subject.) Sex divorced from love is, at worst, a lie to the other person; at best, it's a lie to yourself that your body and your personality are disconnected.

I see so many young girls (and some older ones) who can't stand not being in a relationship. They are addicted to romance. They must always be "in love." They are ridiculous. When they give their hearts, it isn't real, because they are simply sating a thirst for romance, and deceiving themselves in the process.

It isn't always easy to wait for sex. Of course not. And for some people it is even harder than for others. But it's just another form of unreality, like using the word "love" for every boy you've dated for a week. It isn't true.

And so I am waiting for the point in my life when I can honestly, fully give that everything, to one who can and will give his everything to me. Reaching that point, I believe, is part decision and part circumstance. It is not at all passive--not any more than abstaining from sex until marriage is prudish. And it's something much richer and deeper than I have captured here; but these are the thoughts in my head tonight.