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



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hot in the Hamptons

I still have yet to explore the southeastern part of the island, but maybe that'll happen this week.  We're certainly close enough to Riverhead to see what's in that part of the island.

The weather has been really crazy this week.  It got chilly enough one night that I sat on the back porch in sweatpants and a sweatshirt drinking hot tea while I read my book.  Then today I sweated just sitting out there, and discovered that my citronelle candles had melted in the heat! We'll see what the rest of the summer has in store.  I can't believe we're halfway through July!

It was actually a really rough week for me.  Suffice it to say, I'm lonely and bored, and desperately trying not to eat all of the goodies I've been baking for lack of other projects to do.  And Kamil's been on a tough cardiatric rotation that - no surprise - got him sick.  So even when he's home I'm keeping my distance for fearing of catching the bronchitis he's picked up.  Not that I'd have to worry about missing anything if I did get sick... :/

I think it's pretty crummy that he can't take any kind of sick leave.  Doesn't help that the stupid health insurance doesn't kick in yet.  Big shocker that he got sick on a rotation that requires he get up at 5:30am and stay until after 7pm!

I finally got to confession yesterday so this post isn't really helping my fresh state of grace.  It was a bizarre experience with the priest reclining in his chair and me having to basically run the show...

Sigh.  My list of pro's and con's for the churches (names removed to protect the sacred :/) I've thus far visited, not including the two parishes close to Kamil's family:

Church A:

Pro's - close to apartment, good homilies
Con's - ugly church with weird design of congregation, poor music quality

Church B:

Pro's - good music, lots of parish activities
Con's - no kneelers anywhere, little far

Church C:

Pro's - lively parish community, pretty-ish church, cute neighborhood, not far
Con's - priest and deacon take some liberties with liturgy, homilies a little "fluffy", unimpressive music

Church D:

Pro's - very pretty church, good cantor (the one I saw)
Con's - terrible parking situation, little far, fluffy homilies

See? It's tough to know where to commit myself! :(  Arlington really spoiled me with the beautiful options there.  And I will take back EVER criticizing the churches there for being "ugly" because the ones here win that category By Far.

I also met a couple this week who are active in another church that sounds promising, but Google Maps says it's 24 minutes away, which is a little far.  So I don't know what to do :(

My one success of the week was that I obtained a library card and already completed a book.  And they have a pretty decent DVD collection so I'm enjoying some new movies and expanding my culture that way.  I just wish I had more people to talk to throughout the day.  Last night we celebrated Kamil's Name Day at his parents' house and I think I surprised his mom with how much I jabbered on because it had been so long since I'd had decent human contact.  Who knew I'm not as much of an introvert as I thought ;)

That's it for now.  Please take a moment to comment if you can...



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Free Surplee

I'm reminding myself that I forgot to try to get a free Slurpee today for 7-11, although I'm not even sure they honor that kind of thing here (maybe it's regional?).  I also haven't been able to get to the fourth church I planned to check out since my last post.  So you could say this week has not gone as planned.

However, all is not lost and I am happy to report on a few accomplishments as of late: 1) purchased curtains once and for all for the bedroom; 2) had Tata install said curtains, and Kamil is napping as I type to prepare for tonight's first night rotation; 3) hung up several other items to make our apartment home and give me some more peace of mind.

Kamil's family came over today so it was our first! time! hosting! people!  I actually broke out the vacuum for the occasion and it feels all homey and such so that gave my hosting bug a nice fix.  Yes I'm an introvert who loves to entertain.  Just call me Martha ;)

all grown up with comforter and curtains!

Can I just say how much I love LOVE our bedroom here?  King-size bed with huge walk-in closet and now curtains to darken the room more!  Woot, woot :)  Nevermind the impromptu night stand in the corner... 

Hmm, what else?  I had my first (that I can remember) visit in a Pier 1 this week and I swooned over the decor, and then had my dreams smashed by the price tags.  Ah well.  I thought I conquered some kind of deal by purchasing these gems hoping to appease the smell that meets us when we first walk in the front door, but so far, no luck. 
$3 each and all

I was hoping to have something that could work in the absence of outlets down by the front door, and didn't want to go the diffuser route for fear of knocking the oil over.  I suppose they're probably better in a smaller and more confined space like a bathroom or shoebox, but I'm still a little disappointed.

What else? Oh, to follow up on a previous post, I have been a loyal watcher of The Astronaut Wives Club but was not impressed with the most recent episode.  Aside from the super inappropriate story line for a show airing at a "family friendly" time, the obsession with Marge and Deke has me yawning a bit.  I'm still curious how they plan to make an entire series out of a show when they've basically covered the whole history of the Mercury Seven already in four episodes.  But maybe the idea is to run with all of the astronaut families, i.e. Mercury, Gemini, & Apollo?  Thoughts?

Well I guess that's all for now.  Kamil leaves shortly and then I have my first night alone in the apartment.  I see Tex Mex on the menu and maybe a beer to go with a Law & Order: SVU marathon.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Maria Goretti and other musings

I thank y'all for your patience as I try to hone my "blogger voice."  I promise to get away from the minute-by-minute recaps that have been my entire blog up until now.  My two readers will appreciate, I'm sure ;)  also, I'm breaking my promise of photos, since I'm still experimenting with the phone-to-computer transfers.

Today's the feast of St. Maria Goretti, which I was informed of this morning at daily Mass.  She's always been one of my faves, so it was a nice surprise to find out today's her feast day.  I'm trying to find us a parish and the "church shopping" is already wearing on me.  I knew when I was in Arlington and in the Cathedral Choir that we did have something special, and I hope it was clear that I didn't take that for granted.


The parishes here have been okay, so far.  I knew a while ago that I didn't want to join Kamil's parents' church, which is far enough away that we have that excuse anyway.  But the modernistic uber-white decor + tone deaf children's choir (ranging in ages 6 to 16) was another deciding factor.  And I definitely appreciate that so far none of the parishes out here seem to encompass a Kumbayah, social justice obsessed (ignoring the HUGE social justice destruction in the womb...), "greet your neighbor" kind of thing, but I'm still searching.  And I didn't think I'd be searching so long.

When I moved to Arlington, I went to the Cathedral for Sunday Mass exactly once before I decided it could be home.  Here, so far?  I've attended two daily Masses and one Sunday Mass at the closest church, have attempted two daily Masses at another, and just came from a third parish.  Tomorrow has number four on the list... it's St. Anthony's... ironic, no? (Lord, help me find one!)

The parish near us is cute and nice, but it's also suggesting that at one time it was a beautiful simple country parish that was tragically gutted in the aftermath of Vatican II.  No organ or piano, no stained glass, no icons larger than 8 x 10.  And the strangest thing?  It's a capital "L" shape, with one part of the L used for daily Mass, and the other side more popular for Sunday Mass.  So. Weird!

The second parish is St. Margaret of Scotland which I thought could be cool since it's my patron saint.  But I have now tried TWICE to get to a daily Mass service, only to find that this parish thinks it's hip and cool to vary the times of Mass every day.  And the whole no-daily-Mass-on-Thursdays-in-July-and-August-thing seems weird and frustrating.  Priests have to celebrate Mass every day, no?  I see no legitimate excuse for skipping this.  It's a 30-minute service at most.

So of course one of my attempts was last Thursday and then today I get up early after a long LONG weekend at the ER and hospital (don't ask) to make it for the 8am service.... to find out it's at 9am on MWF.  It's only at 8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and, as we remember, NO services on Thursdays at all for two months for some reason.  I took today's experience as a sign to give up on this parish for now.  We'll see if I'm up for the challenge later of checking and re-checking Mass times before making the trek out again.

Since 8am Mass this morning was a bust, I decided to check out a third parish for their 9am service.  It's been my favorite so far, since there was lots of a capella singing for a daily Mass which I am all over (although, awkward when the lady leading the four of us in singing Gift of Finest Wheat for communion went horribly out of key...). kneelers.  All chairs without little kneelers in both the side chapel and main church.  I'm sorry but I cannot get over no kneelers.  When our Lord is making Himself present in the Eucharist right in front of us, I want to be able to prostrate in worship without feeling like some overzealous minority.

Wow, this is a long post just on parishes...

So, now what?  Now I'll try that fourth parish tomorrow and I guess we'll see how it goes.  It's also hard being summertime and not being able to get a good sense of how the parish life is since most parish activities peace out more or less once school's out of session.  And I'm not sure how to go about introducing myself to cantor.  I guess I hope that I'll sound good enough at a Mass that people will just tell me I should join or something.  I know, I should make more effort, etc. etc.

Anyway, that's the big thing facing me right now.  Time to try to finally balance our checkbook once and for all and get things more organized around here.  And our ice maker is on the fritz so I get to have some human interaction today. ;)



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Big Apple Red

Wow, sorry for the delay in posting!  I can't believe how much has happened since I last wrote.  And sorry, but this post will be sans photos, since I'm still trying to figure out the most efficient phone-to-computer transfer.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

So, since I last posted, I traveled back to DC for one final hurrah.  It's still crazy to think that I won't be going back there any time soon, but the trip was pretty perfect in wrapping up my five years in the Beltway.

I arrived later than planned on Wednesday, and was unfortunately not able to attend a bachelorette party for one of the weddings, but Deidre took pity on me to get me food in Old Town, and we got to walk by the river front.  I will certainly miss margaritas at Austin Grill and ice cream at Pop's!  So many memories made on King Street - good and bad - and it was a lovely evening to wrap it up there.

The next day I made a trip to the Chancery and spent about two hours there catching up with old co-workers and friends.  That evening Deidre and Maggen both had me over and we watched Crazy Stupid Love which, despite the requisite Hollywood raunchiness, was pretty funny.

Friday was the first wedding day, and it was so sweet.  For the occasion I got a manicure and had my nails painted - appropriately for me - Big Apple Red.  Thank you OPI for your never-ending color quips ;) 

It was ironic despite the Supreme Court's destruction of the word "marriage" to see Jon and Miranda take their vows on the same day.  The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and Miranda was a gorgeous bride.  I was so happy I could be there for them!

The reception also wasn't as awkward as it could have been, since it's the first wedding I've attended without Kamil since we've been together.  I was seated with some lovely single ladies (why no guys have jumped at the chance to date them is beyond me...) and we were able to dance together and enjoy the AWESOME Pittsburgh tradition of a cookie table.  Plus I got to meet Kate from The Rhodes Log, which was pretty neat.

Saturday was another wedding day, which was also lovely despite the torrential downpours that day.  I got to sing with the choir for Ronnie's wedding and even the Bishop made an appearance!  The reception was a nice chance to have a last chat with several choir members, and then I went to an evening Mass there at St. Agnes afterwards.

Then Sunday was super exciting because I was able to drive newlyweds Jon and Miranda to JFK on my way home to New York!  As I was leaving their reception they mentioned they would be flying out Sunday evening for their honeymoon to Italy, so I offered to drive them up.  It was great to have a chance to catch up in a more intimate setting than a wedding reception.  I've really missed Miranda, so hopefully I'll make my way out west sooner than later to see them again.  And it was appropriate to take them with me as I left DC for good, as Miranda was my first good friend made in the Beltway.  Praying they enjoy the Italian version of a "bon voyage"! ;)

And so I returned to my lover Sunday evening and we've been settling into our permanent residence here on Long Island.  Our brand new bed arrived yesterday and it is AWESOME having a king size mattress after squeezing onto a full for the last 10 months.  Although, Kamil still claims I'm stealing covers while I sleep... ;)

I promise to post pictures galore in my next post!  Also, my report on the local Catholic churches and Kamil's first day as an official doctor :)



Monday, June 22, 2015


This week's post title courtesy of Sugarland

I'm typing and posting this from our new home! We has interwebs!! much faster than Comcast down in Arlington, PLUS I don't need to have the ethernet cable plugged in :P

Whew, so we are definitely settling into the new place.  Kamil was sweet enough to put up with my design tastes and hung up pictures on the walls (my stud found studs, hehe) so we're feeling a LOT more at home.  Still haven't spent the night, as we are sans bed, but it's getting there!  I'm tempted to pull out the bed-couch just so we can call this home, but not sure we want to do that yet.  But hopefully we can sleep on a bed soon!  We are planning an Ikea trip for tomorrow to buy a frame, and I'm praying that the king size bed will fit in our bedroom, since you never know for sure...

Here are some photos of the progress:

 On a side note, does anyone have any suggestions for transferring iPhone photos to my computer more efficiently? I'm thinking I may have to get to know the "cloud" better because right now I have to email the photos to myself, then download them, then upload them to Blogger, then post.  Thoughts?

Saturday I got to know one of the maintenance guys here, as the a/c wasn't working properly:

That white stuff is ICE, man. So we had to have it defrosted, and they should be back today to finish it up.  And hopefully we can entertain some friends soon!  But first we gotta make some... ;)

We got to see my family last week for Hannah's birthday, so here are some baby photos for your enjoyment as well:

 the birthday girl all tuckered out

I leave on Wednesday (Kamil's first day of orientation) to go back to DC for some more weddings, and then it'll be back to New York for good!

That's it for now,



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On the Long Island

Had to get a quick post in now that I have a chance to sit back and breathe for a minute in the midst of this move.  We're about to have our "obiad" with the family, as Kamil and I have been camping out at his parents' until we get a bed of our own.  Which was purchased today!  So, progress! :)

It's weird to think that we are actually here to live, rather than just on another visit to see his parents. And, of course, to see Puszek, their dog (pronounced "poo-shek", the name literally means tiny speck of dust in Polska).

Isn't he cute?

Kamil's parents were gracious enough to come down and help move our stuff into the U-Haul, and then they even drove the truck back up to New York! 

Hi Mama! Hi Tata!

I'm still reeling by how. much. stuff. we have, and I'm creating a new Goodwill pile as I unpack and try to find room for it all in our new place.  More pictures will come once things are more put away.

So each day we've been back and forth from Chez Stefanowski to Chez Stefanowski (haha).  We've been trying out different routes to see which is fastest.  Unfortunately there's no quick interstate to take, but I've enjoyed seeing the different little businesses along the way.  Also, SO many Dunkin Donuts!  I don't know how I'll resist the temptation to stop by one every day, especially as I go through coffee withdrawal, as Poles don't properly enjoy their java.  Adding more water to coffee left sitting in the pot for two hours does not a happy Lynettka make. :P

Here's the outside of our apartment building.  I love love love our little stairway (although I've already tripped over my feet running upstairs, lol) and I can't wait to hang paintings along the wall.  So, things are coming along!

Tomorrow morning we head to Pennsylvania to see our niece on her birthday, so more driving.  But it'll be a nice change from unpacking.

More later when we're back in New York!



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Movin' on up!

Last weekend's trip in Savannah was ahh-mazing and so much better than I expected!  No offense to Georgia, but with the packing and moving, the thought of a looong drive was upping my stress levels.  But Kamil and I enjoyed the town so much that we added an extra night to our stay!  Those who know me, know that I'm not the most spontaneous person, but I was really happy with our splurge :)

Quick re-cap of the trip:

We arrived Friday and had dinner down by the water.  Saturday we toured a bit of the town, which included seeing this house and also the homestead of Flannery O'Conner.  When the city was built, the founder included 24 planned squares in a grid throughout town, 22 of which now serve as pretty little parks every few streets.  It's so cute!  It's like a bigger, cleaner, more peaceful version of Old Town Alexandria. Love!

The wedding was Saturday night and was hot hot hot but at least the rain stayed at bay.  Here is the required photo of us:

 ready to dance!

We were the old married couple who left shortly after the cake cutting.  Apparently some folks partied until after midnight.  Crazy kids ;)

Sunday we checked out the Cathedral for Mass, and ohmygosh it is a GORGEOUS church!  (like, seriously, Fr. Rippy, this is what a Cathedral should look like...ahem)

this doesn't do it justice

It's been nicknamed the "Sistine of the South" due to its beautiful artwork throughout.  Beautiful Catholic architecture in the heart of Dixie? Yes, please :)

After Mass there was a wedding brunch, and then we had the whole rest of the day to explore some more, do some window shopping, and just relax and not worry about the packing awaiting us back in Arlington.  Also!  Savannah is a neat town in that it allows for open alcohol on the streets, so after dinner we ordered beverages to go and continued our tour by the waterfront.  Pretty neat!

enjoying a peach Long Island iced tea

So Monday we began our long drive home and made it back around dinnertime.  Since then it's been pretty intense packing-mode for me, and Kamil has done his fair share as well.  Also, Deidre treated me with a day away to a winery in Manassas.  We enjoyed the beautiful landscape, and also being one of very few people around on a work day.  And then I had a "last" dinner with some ladies at Austin Grill in Old Town.

thanks for the wine, Deidre!

It's strange because I keep having these good-bye events, but it's not really good-bye because we're not leaving until Monday, and I'll be back a few weeks later anyway.  So it's still surreal that I'm moving.  I'll be glad once we're settled and I can get into a routine.  How I miss routine!  But I'm definitely enjoying being spoiled by all the time I've had with Kamil :)

p.s. I'm really excited about this show, is anyone else?

Loves for now,


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Georgia on my mind

Song titles/lyrics are always my go-to for titles, even back in college for term papers.  It's amazing the words that stick with you over the years.  Last week when Kamil and I were driving to Pittsburgh we decided to actually use the "free" 6-month trial of XM radio and listened to the 90s on 9 station and I impressed him with the songs I still have memorized after all this time...

Anyway.  Tomorrow morning we leave for Georgia for the 1st wedding of the month.  I hope the drive doesn't wear on us too too much!  I'm excited to see the city and do some exploring, since the wedding isn't until Saturday evening.  Spanish moss, here we come! ;)

This week has been pretty relaxing as we got some things taken care of for the move.  I've packed a few boxes, but there are many many more to go.  We also got a couples' massage which was a nice treat on Monday.  The weather here has been very bleah so it's been a good week for getting things done.  Although, I can't complain about the weather too much because it's cooled everything down which is MUCH appreciated.  Unfortunately, it's looking like the weather will be similar in Georgia this weekend, with rain and high temperatures all three days :P  At least there will be Chick Fil A's nearby!  I'm hoping to get my fill in before we move to the north where they are no more :(

Deidre came over last night with wine, which was a great break from the packing.  She and I are going to get together again next week, but it's feeling like all of my encounters with folks are part of one. long. good-bye.  Sunday was the choir's farewell and I bawled my way through that.  Then Tuesday we had dinner with Dan and Shannon and they gave us little gifts for going away.  And when I was organizing some things and going through the many (MANY!) mementos I've accumulated over the last five years, it was a little crazy realizing how much has happened in my life out here.  I found concert tickets from a show I saw before I had met Kamil and that was kind of surreal.  For all of my complaining, it's been a life-changing ride out here, and of course not all of it has been bad (although those DC drivers tried their best...). 

at the Angel Oak near Charleston, SC, during a pre-Kamil trip ;)

So yes, I will miss life out here and most especially the friendships I've cultivated over the years.  My greatest fear in the move will be finding friends on Long Island (prayer request!), since DC is such a great place for meeting young adults at a similar stage in life and finding affordable things to do and see.  Sigh, I'd best get to wrapping this post up before I get too weepy. 

Anyway, now to pack some more boxes and our suitcase for tomorrow's travels!  The Stefanowski tour continues!



Friday, May 29, 2015

Sweet Home


Well, we got home Wednesday evening from our big road trip, and Kamil is such a trooper for all of that travel!  I don't know if he's done more than a 6-7 hour drive in one day, and he helped me drive the 10 hours to my parents AND another 6 hour drive three days later to Illinois to see my family.  Quite the whirlwind!

Like I wrote earlier, I was able to show Kamil my alma mater of Hillsdale College, and it was wonderful to see how the campus is doing.  We had lunch with an old professor and his wife, and also sat and chatted with another professor in the history department.  We also ran into an old friend who is now employed by the College, and it was neat to hear how her experience is as an alum now working there.  I also got reminded how old I am, by seeing a girl I knew when she was probably in middle school while I was a student there, who is now a sophomore working in the student bookstore. Crazy!

So, we also made our way to another alma mater of sorts by visiting my dad's hometown and showing Kamil the places I visited when I would spend part of the summer every year with my grandparents when I was younger.  Some things have obviously changed, but it's kind of nice to see the things that haven't.  And it's always fun hearing the old stories about the house my dad grew up in before his parents moved into his grandparents' house (which he got to help build since my grandfather was in construction).  There's also the funny story about a woman who accidentally drove her car into my grandparents' plumbing store downtown, and how my grandfather was a volunteer fireman because he was the only one who could get the firetruck into its garage. :)

Sadly, one place that holds a special place in my heart appears to be closing - Rockome Gardens (I know, it's a tad strange that a place known for being in the heart of Amish country and started by the Amish has its own website...).  We have photos of my grandparents there on a date before they were married, so it's sad to see it go.  I hope they're able to salvage some of the better parts of the property for posterity's sake.

We drove back to Michigan with my parents (stopped at this fun place!) and then the next day we started on back east.  We were able to spend a night in Pittsburgh visiting my dear friend and old roommate from college, who is currently expecting her first baby!
it was sunny, hence the squinting ;)

It was such a treat to stay at their cute little home and visit with them.  And now Kamil has a new video game "friend", haha.

It's great to be back here for a bit, although a little hard since we have another trip next week, and then we have to get in more serious packing mode for the move.  I feel like we're some kind of band on tour!  I'm trying to get some exercise back into the mix so I did Jazzercise yesterday and today, and it sufficiently kicked my butt ;)

So tonight Kamil gets to hang out with the guys for a celebratory/good-bye Ultimate Man Night and I have a quiet night alone.  Of course I'm not motivated now to do any of the things still staring me down to get done, but hopeful!

Hope you're staying cool wherever you are!



Friday, May 22, 2015

Alma maters

I got to show Kamil Hillsdale's campus this week, which was a lot of fun. We've been having a great time in the Midwest, which I'll write more about next week. Hang on to yer hats! ;)

Tonight we're staying in the booming metropolis of Tuscola, Illinois - my father's hometown. It'll be a fun weekend with family!

For now, here's a photo of Kamil in front of the iconic Central Hall:

Monday, May 18, 2015

married to the "mob"

okay well not really.  but now I am officially married to a doctor!  I'm so proud of Kamil for reaching this milestone and achieving such a terrific feat.  Onward!

It was a whirlwind weekend with both of our families in town.  Friday we put plans together and managed to get reservations for Saturday night at a pretty good restaurant for 11 people.  After Saturday morning's baccalaureate Mass, we had a quick lunch and then went out to one of our favorite wineries here and it was absolutely gorgeous.  The rain clouds appeared just as we were leaving, and we made it back to Arlington in time for Mass at St. Agnes.  We had to battle quite the downpour on our way to dinner, but luckily it dried up by the time we all had to go home that evening.

Yesterday's ceremony was pretty simple and short.  The speaker was t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e but at least Kamil got out of there with his diploma intact.  He returned the overpriced cap & gown and we are DONE with Georgetown forever!! (you can't see how big I'm smiling about that, but believe me, it's big)

Had a great party with family and friends, and by the time we were done we were completely pooped.  We thought we would get together with the remaining family for the evening but we were all collapsing in our respective beds so we called it a night.

So we took my parents to the airport this morning and had ironic good-bye's by saying "see you tomorrow."  Now we just have to pack things up to leave bright and early tomorrow for the Midwest!  I canNOT wait :)



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bureaucracy Blues

We woke up this morning ready to tackle all of the paperwork required for our new apartment.  It's exciting but a little stressful. Plus, our apartment is still a mess, which I'll need to tackle SOON since all of our family will descend this weekend.  It will be a fun but crazy week!

Any introverts out there?  My biggest wish for today is that Kamil would leave for a few hours so I can clean in peace.  I suppose I should be grateful that my husband can't go too long without kissing me, but I'm too stressed about the move!

The debate now?  Budget or U-haul?  U-haul is a little more expensive, and they aren't as close as Budget.  Kamil had the brilliant idea that we caravan a car + the moving truck when we move in June, and leave a car here for when we come back for the last weddings before I leave.  Too. Much. Coordination.  But I'm so grateful for his perspective!

It's supposed to hit 91-degrees today, so I'm reminded once again why I'm glad to move a little farther north.  Seriously, it's May.  And when you're raised in a state that doesn't really *do* spring, this heat this soon is a bit ridiculous.  I'm preparing my first homemade iced coffee of the season...

I want to end with a photo, since photos are fun.  We get to see our niece this weekend, and next month we celebrate her first birthday!  So, here's a photo from last summer when she was first born:

love you Hannah!



Monday, May 11, 2015


while visiting the volcano on Hawaii's big island on our honeymoon, October 2014

First blog post is a little intimidating, but here goes...

I've had blogs in the past, so why is this so hard?  Okay, just write and get something up here so I can figure out templates, etc.

My husband is speaking Polish to his Mama on the phone, after we just spent a week in Long Island getting things set up for our move next month.  He's lost a suit, so I'm praying to St. Anthony that it wasn't lost on a train during Kamil's several trips at the beginning of the year for his residency interviews.  I'm so glad THAT part of our first year of marriage is over!

For those who don't know, he "matched" at Stony Brook University near his parents pretty much smack dab in the middle of Long Island.  I'm sure someday when I'm plagued by writer's block I can tell y'all more about how the match process works, how I discovered that Long Island actually lives up to its name (who knew?), and that it's God's funny sense of humor bringing me full circle to live in the Empire State.  Another time, another time.

Right now, I've got to decide if I'll tackle the several unpacked items glaring at me (first up: the sheets we cleaned in the free washer/dryer at his parents...we do need a bed to sleep in tonight after all), and how exactly we're going to move all of our stuff from Virginia to New York and two cars.

Wish me luck!  And if you think of it, please pray to St. Tony for my husband!