Wednesday, September 23, 2015

happy yom kippur?

I've never really been tuned in to Jewish holidays, except Hanukkah.  Not that I don't appreciate all that God's chosen people have offered (hello Jesus!), I just never encountered much more than a distant knowledge of their important and sacred traditions.

So now we live on Long Island, and even live in close proximity to a town called Mount Sinai, and it shouldn't surprise me that now all Jewish feasts will be honored in this area.  Case in point - schools are closed today for Yom Kippur.  Who knew?! ;)

Anyway, I'm living the single life for the next two weeks because Kamil will be staying with his parents while he works at the VA hospital.  It's only 20-25 minutes from their house, as opposed to about twice that from our place, so alas.  I'll be heading over to his parents' for dinner tonight to get some time with my hubby. 

It's strange how it shifts my entire day.  Yesterday I found myself not knowing what to do with myself, so I bested my FitBit goal and got over 15,000 steps!  Hips... so... sore...

Chick fil A training starts this weekend, so that should be exciting.  I even got to try out my new uniform, and let's just say I'm glad I'm not planning to pick up any guys while working there ;) At least it's modest, haha.

The big news of course out here is Papa Francis's trip in the U.S.  Little neat fact is that he will be staying in a townhouse in Manhattan that was once the private home of the woman who donated the funds to establish Kamil's high school.

In the spirit of the trip, here's a pretty good piece from The Atlantic on the Pope.  What I would love to happen is he reinforce things like Humanae Vitae during this meeting on marriage and the family.  So I guess we'll see.

Speaking of interesting articles, on a completely separate note, here's a fun piece about how my alma mater is not considered a valid institution of higher education according to the Department of Education (please please why is removing the DOE no longer on the GOP platform?!??).  Umm...yeah, I can promise I spent more time working on my degree (not "certificate") during those four years than anything else so...yeah. 

Fall is bringing us some beautiful weather so I'm off to enjoy it.  Toodles! ;)



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The big 3-0

Two posts within a week?!  Let's not jinx it... ;)

My birthday this year was absolutely wonderful.  Let's back up to the previous weekend when Mom & Dad came for an early birthday celebration, now that I have a few photos uploaded from their trip:

with the Woman in Gold! well, not the real one, but a nice big replica for photos by the bathrooms ;)

very squinty, but it's the only one I have of us BOTH looking at the camera ;)  this is outside of the restaurant where we ate with our families

As a result of the early presents I got from my parents and in-laws, I bought myself a FitBit at Costco last Tuesday. It is appropriately kicking my butt!  I am enjoying reaching for the 10,000-step goal, and think this will get me to be more careful in my eating habits.  My one complaint is that since it only tracks "steps", I don't think it's giving me as much credit for my Jazzercise classes, since those involve more than just stepping (think ab routines and light weight exercises).  So I feel a little gypped only getting about 4,000 steps for my hour-long classes... ;)

Overall I highly recommend it.  It was under $100 at Costco, and took me no time to set it up on-line, which is a big deal for me.  I also use it for tracking my sleep patterns, which has been interesting as well.

So on my actual birth day, the stars aligned and Kamil had the day off so we got to spend the whole day together.  We had breakfast and went for a nice long walk.  I took a nap in the afternoon and when I awoke he had gotten a hair cut (I love him having shorter hair) and gave me a sweet sweet card.  Then he took me to dinner at lovely little family Italian restaurant and I got amazing fettuccine.

After dinner we watched TV and then around 9pm I met up with his mom, who was gracious enough to drive me into Manhattan and pick up my dear friend Deidre.  Deidre spent the weekend with me and it was awesome to have her hear!  Unfortunately, I just realized we never took a photo of the two of us to commemorate the occasion :(

Saturday we had an educational morning by getting a tour of the grounds of Nikola Tesla's lab here on Long Island.

This property was built for his lab back in 1903 and then due to Tesla's financial issues, was sold in the mid-20th century.  A photography company used the land for production starting in the '60s and unfortunately dumped chemical waste into the soil for many years, so the land couldn't be used much after they left in the 1980s.  In recent years, there has been a movement to restore the original laboratory building, and the Serbian government even donated a statue for them to have.

The original lab building.  Can't you imagine a bolt of lightening hitting it?

Tesla had built a tower that he hoped to use for generating electricity and telecommunications across the Atlantic.  The tower went deep into the ground to use the earth's energy for this project.  Here is the site for that tower:

the original tower
I think the group now working to restore the property hopes to build a replica, and I guess some folks in Russia have almost completed one out there as well.  All very informational!

Finally, on Sunday morning, Deidre and I walked around Port Jefferson, which is a cute cute waterfront town.  It's where a ferry to Connecticut leaves, but it's not as congested as you might think.  Here's the waterfront, which had a MUCH higher tide when Deidre & I were there, compared to when we showed our parents!

Looks almost surreal how high the water is, and how peaceful it seems. It was nice to be there earlier before the hustle & bustle of a Sunday by the water began.

So now it's back to the quiet of life.  Fall arrived yesterday with a chilly morning, which I loved.  I'm looking forward to training in a week with Chick fil A, and having that to keep me busy.

Until then,



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Three Week Recap?

Well well well.  How is it already September 9th?!?

I can't decide if I'm happy or sad about fall quickly approaching.  On the one hand, I'm relieved that summer is over because it was a tough one, and very hot, and I'll welcome the cool weather and being able to open windows and enjoy soft fall breezes.  On the other hand, it went by awfully fast, and I regret a little how hard the summer was, and how much I was consumed by the negativity.  Although, it was my life at the time, and it was hard, so I can't dismiss the effect it had on me.  On the other hand, I'm so excited about fall "things" (i.e. apples, pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful leaves...), yet nervous that the fall will fly by, especially if the weather stays like it has.  Yesterday was apparently the hottest it's been in Bridgeport, CT, just across the Sound from us.

Okay, I've run out of hands. ;)

For a re-cap of the past 3 weeks, here are a few highlights:

- Kamil worked night shifts for 2 weeks, which sucked for both of us
- I found out I am still not pregnant, which also was sad
- We had our 1-year anniversary, and I tried to compose a reflective post about what one year of marriage really means given today's lack of proper understanding of the word "marriage", but I couldn't do so without going on and on.  So I'll just link to Jenny's awesome writing on the subject.

Then, things started looking up as I prepared for my parents' visit over Labor Day weekend.  Though not before Kamil and I got sick again, as apparently what we didn't know about Intern year is that he would be exposed to every germ known to man in the hospital, and would bring it home with him. :P  So now echinacea is making its way into my daily routine ;)

A few other exciting things have been going on, such as...

- My parents and I got to explore NYC and saw this, because of this.
- I got a JOB!! :)  Guess where...

I'm excited about getting out of the house and getting paid for it, and I hope I can make a few friends through it.

- Also, Deidre is coming to visit!

yey! :)

Overall the name of the game this summer has been patience, which I find to be one of the most annoying virtues to cultivate.  You pray for it, and it doesn't seem to ever come fast enough (duh), and then you get to have fun little tests to grow in it, and then one day you look back and sigh with relief that maybe you're a little wiser than you were.

Just in time for my 30th birthday ;)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Steve Carell, Astro Wives, and random thoughts

one last note on the Foxcatcher critiques... I couldn't help but notice in the movie how a big part of Carell's character is having a warped sense of others' regard for him.  How someone is insulting and ignoring his presence (which is arguably inappropriate, among other things) and he is completely oblivious to it.  Remind you of another character he's done?  I'll give you a hint ;)

Anyway, onto The Astronaut Wives Club.  As I wrote earlier, I was curious how it was going to be an entire show with multiple seasons, but I think they did realize it and the "season finale" perfectly wrapped up all of the characters' developments.  All of the stories were closed on the characters (although they could have mentioned John Glenn's 2nd orbit of the earth in 1998 - I remember watching it in school).  But I'm still a little confused as to why it was called the "season finale" and not the "series finale" though...

Also, the thing that bugs me is the emphasis on birth control and that the contraceptive devices developed in the '60s were such wonderful things.  Like, no one notices the fact that Irene touts the diaphragm in her news anchor bit, as she's in the middle of what looks to be a painful separation from her husband?  But there couldn't possibly be a connection, right?

I went to Jazzercise this morning and was a little saddened by some of the comments made by other women about their husbands and about children.  It was very cliche - women making comments about their silly husbands, and I get it, sometimes I tease Kamil (and he properly teases me back ;) ).  But it seems strange to do it in a public venue with women you don't really know.  I suppose I still have some rose colored glasses since we're just now approaching our 1-year anniversary (one week!!). 

But another interesting remark was that the Jazzercise instructor (who is in her early 50s) recently had a stomach bug and she told us how a coworker joked she might be pregnant.  Her response was complete disgust and a view that it would be the end of her life.  I'm probably a little melodramatic in my interpretation, but as someone who would very much like to be pregnant now (and again and again!), it's a little hurtful to hear someone else's guffaw at such an idea.  But as I'm younger than most of the jazzerciser's by at least 15 years, I suppose it's only natural to feel a little out of the group.

At least it was some social interaction.  I always thought I was more of an introvert, and I still think I am pretty content in my solitude.  But I couldn't help but notice a few weeks ago when I made a quick stop in a Starbucks and sat enjoying my chai tea latte in a chair, that I was thriving a bit off of the energy of having other people around me.  That I need to force myself to be a little more social to fuel myself for the long hours of quiet alone at the apartment.

I guess that's enough rambling for today.  Ooh, but before I go!  I did manage to get a bunch of photos off of my phone so here's some to share:

an adorable Hannah in her glasses from my trip to Illinois a few weeks ago. can you STAND the cuteness???

all of the cousins on my Dad's side (and some cousins' kids too!) with Grandma for her 85th birthday

beautiful St. Isidore in Riverhead, right in the middle of a Polish community. Mass is offered in Polish so I'm curious to try it out!

Off to occupy myself for another 4 hours while Kamil sleeps off his night shift :P



Monday, August 17, 2015

another book/movie review, and some honesty

So, to start with my follow-up to my last post, I read and watched the book and movie Foxcatcher, regarding the interesting story of John Du Pont and the Schultz brothers.

The book was a good read and held my interest, although it was difficult with some of the descriptions given of the various wrestling matches.  I'm not really familiar at all with the sport, and still have no idea how the points are given, so those parts of the book were glossed over.  I'm definitely more of a visual learner in that respect.

Another thing is that the author, Mark Schultz, writes from a perspective that I find a little unusual.  His is not the story of an underdog overcoming odds and seeking the thrill of victory in his olympic medals.  I found some of his commentary frustrating, and maybe if he had written it differently I could understand his story better.  But, for an example, his explanation of losing in the 1988 Olympics sounds a little whiny - that he could have won, but just decided not to because it would have made John Du Pont happy.  It seemed a little sad to me that he wouldn't seek victory for the sake of having it for himself.  But maybe that's just me.

Now, I was looking forward to the movie.  I enjoy some of those dark indie films, and was interested in the movie before I knew there was a book.  But the movie also left me wanting.  It didn't seem to rely much at all on the story given in the book, yet made assumptions that its viewers had read the book to understand some of the more subtle moments.  It suggested that Dave and Mark were both working on Du Pont's property at the same time, and also completely ignored the angle that Mark was initially brought into Du Pont's world under the impression that he would work at Villanova for an up and coming wrestling team.  So, the movie was a bit of a disappointment for me.

On a less "academic" note, I need to get a few things off of my chest.  I suppose that's what a blog is for, right?  So here goes...

The last two months have been hard.  They have been a continued test of my patience, and a practice in better understanding myself.  I think what God is trying to tell me through all of this is, "Wait.  And please keep waiting."

Case in point:  I am desperately trying to find a good parish where I can get involved and make good Catholic friends.  I previously wrote about the various churches and their quirks, and we still haven't found a place to truly call home.  We even thought we had, but I guess it's not our time yet.  I seriously ache for the churches of Arlington.  I feel like I'm going crazy in seeking out a parish that upholds the Catholic Church which is why I'm taking a step back.

We joined a parish and registered and everything.  I then went to Sunday Mass on my own and was brokenhearted after the priest's homily.  He saw fit to use the Bread of Life discourse as a jumping off point to discuss the current debate over divorced Catholics.  Yet no where in his homily did the term "annulment" get mentioned.  Instead, he proceeded to make off hand comments like, "I don't really care about Canon Law" and "It's funny these men are making decisions about divorce when they'll never get married."  What's worse, the congregation ate it up, erupting in applause for him.  I barely made it through the rest of the Mass.

So I'm back at square one in the church search, and I think I'll just take some more time to figure this out.  I just wish I knew where else I might meet people to make some friends here.

I'd appreciate some prayers...



Monday, July 27, 2015

Book & Movie Review: Wild

sigh, I guess I should try to get in a better, more regular habit of writing.  Instead of writing, I've been reading more lately, and it's been really great. Hands-on, holding a big ol' book in my hands, staying up late to "just finish this one chapter" and remembering how much I love a good escape.

Last Friday I took the train to Manhattan and was sad to leave my book behind when it would have been great for the hour-plus ride to the city.  But I was in the middle of Killing Kennedy (and I giggle every time I think/say/write that phrase) and it's a hefty book that I didn't feel like toting around the city while I explored Chelsea.  Plus I had a bit of trepidation of how New Yorkers would respond to seeing Bill O'Reilly's name in my hands :P  Instead I was forced to read off of my phone, while trying to keep the battery above 50%.  #firstworldproblems?

Anyway, now I'm diving feet first into Wild by Cheryl Stayed.  This is probably the closest I've come to a "trendy" read of something that was published in the last five years and already enjoyed by book clubs, etc. And I committed the Number One sin by - gasp! - watching the movie before checking out the book.  But this is one of those rare cases where I think the movie helped me with visualizing the scenery of the book, and I'm glad I saw it first.  Plus, I highly doubt I would have given the book a second glance if I hadn't seen the movie beforehand.

Now, as to my "review".  The movie has Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses.  I loved her in Walk the Line, and even appreciated Four Christmases.  Recently Kamil and I literally LOL'd at Hot Pursuit in theaters, which was a rare occasion of me watching a comedy on the big screen.

However, from what I could tell about Wild, it seemed very serious and Sundance-film-festival-esque and not something I would normally go to.  It was something I picked up to watch during Kamil's night rotation a few weeks back.  And my overall impression? INTENSE. Like, I had to stay up another hour and a half watching replays of "America's Got Talent" to get it out of my system.  Because some of the more graphic sex & drug scenes were a bit much. (and side note, do any of you wonder about these celebrities' kids? like, how do they explain to their children the kind of roles they take on?)

Yet something about the story encouraged me to not completely reject Cheryl Stayed.  Because, in a less destructive way, I can relate to the desire to escape and get within oneself.  I did a long road trip on my own in the summer of 2009 while I was in grad school and experienced a bit of that similar longing to be alone and discover the world as a single young woman.  And right now, with all the transitions happening this summer, a part of me longs for that time.  Which I think is something a lot of folks can also appreciate.

Stayed also reminds me of the book Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon.  I was assigned a portion of the book in an awesome 20th century history class in grad school, and soon read the whole book on my own.  It too follows a young American's unconventional journey around the country seeking to learn more about himself.  And I'm sure there are other books in this trend (On the Road comes to mind, though I haven't read that one), and it seems to be its own kind of genre.  This longing to get out and do something, and since doing something seems to be impossible to understand, many take to travel as a means to feel a pull towards a greater action.

This is getting long so I'm trying to wrap things up.  I'm halfway through the book Wild and it's an enjoyable read.  It's heartbreaking, and I'm grateful for my life a little more (which makes me sound like a huge snob and whatnot), and I appreciate Stayed's candor and honesty.  I like the balance of the stories of life on the trail versus her life before the trail, and all she learns in between.  And now I'm wanting to see parts of the Pacific Crest Trail the next time I get to California ;)

So, here's hoping y'all find it or a similar treasure to read as July wraps up!



Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Polish lesson for the day:

Chora: hor - ahh
the feminine version of the Polish word for sick

As in, how I feel :P

Yes, I managed to catch Kamil's illness from his insane cardiatric rotation.  Poor guy had lost his voice by the end of dinner Sunday evening, and finally was able to convince the senior cardiac resident that he should take a day off.  So Monday morning we woke up and I realized that the sore throat I had been writing off as some weird summer allergies was also, in fact, the cold. :(

The meal of the day.

I think we got through eight episodes of the new pack of Law & Order: SVU DVDs I gave Kamil Saturday for his name day (St. Camillius, patron saint of physicians - appropriate, no?).

I finally got around to uploading some photos, so let's focus on the better, healthier parts of the last week:

here's a little friend who said hello to me last weekend during my night alone while Kamil was on a night shift.  I love feeling like we live out in the country here!  Although, I could do without killing a bug every day :P

Kamil's parents' pool is more or less finished, except for some additional landscaping.  We had fun last Sunday swimming in the cool water, and hopefully once we're all healthy it'll be a great reprieve from the heat wave that started this week.

beautiful sunset by the water!

last Tuesday I enjoyed a wonderful evening with Ann and Bob in Port Jefferson.  Kamil and I had looked at some of the apartments in that area, but they weren't what we were looking for.  This is such a pretty little port town where the ferry to Connecticut leaves, so I look forward to many more trips down to the water front. :)

off to watch TV and drink more fluids :P