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 :)