Friday, March 18, 2011

About my love of the Green

I suppose this would have been a good post for yesterday with it being St. Patrick's and so many of my friends wishing my Irish soul a "Happy St. Patrick's Day" and all, but since what I am going to share occurred this morning, it was impossible.

As many of you know (mostly because I still talk about it), I took an Irish politics class in college. And I. Loved. It. And I do mean loved. I probably a little excessive and obsessive with the class, but I honestly didn't care. It's the class that first introduced (and later got) me to Belfast-- what's there not to love??

What makes me bring up the Irish politics class on the day after St. Patrick's Day? Well, on my morning walk to work, for reasons unknown to me, I started thinking about it. Meredith and Katie, if you're reading this, it was almost like one of our study sessions, where we would start with any topic and manage to link it to every other topic we wanted to review: 1949--> Republic --> FG and CnP coalition --> Civil War --> Anti vs. Pro Treaty --> Collins vs. Dev -->FF --> Constitution of 1937 --> Amendments --> Referenda --> Issues of divorce and abortion --> Role of the Catholic Church --> NI --> Good Friday Agreement vs.AIA vs. Sunningdale--> loyalist vs. unionist vs. republican vs. nationalist. And once you have the main points, you get to add in all of the details! The game can be endless, really.

I am not sure there is much of a point to this post other than to share my love of Irish politics with you. This week's picture is of some books in the Dartmouth stacks. When I went back for my mini-reunion with Peter, Alexia and Zeke in February 2010, I paid a special visit to my favorite part of the library. The visit would have been incomplete without it, really.

And now that I have shared just how very much of a total nerd I am, I'll leave you now. What was your favorite college class?

Friday, March 11, 2011

In my heart...

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever" ~ Winnie the Pooh

I have been missing Ylaria so much today. (Well, I have been missing her a lot for some time now but today was a little more difficult.) It was rainy and gloomy in the morning-- sort of how I was feeling. And it made me wonder if the world was crying along with me at the loss of such a magical soul.

I spoke to Belen. We cried together; we laughed together (sometimes at the same time). We talked about Ylaria and how she was wise beyond her years. We laughed about how she was so smart and so witty, about how she would sometimes pretend to ignore me when I came to visit because she was (secretly) so excited to see me. We remembered how she would roll her eyes and how she would laugh when she thought something was ridiculous. I told her that it was hard for me to remember Ylaria was only 5 sometimes because she just "got" it. All of it. And, I basically treated her like another one of my 20-something year old friends. Ylaria never skipped a beat. And you better believe she noticed when you did. And she let you know it. She was no nonsense like that. It would crack me up every time. I swear, Ylaria was with us while we were talking. I felt her all around me.

Sometimes I am surprised she was even my friend. It was clear from the start that she was much cooler, much smarter, much better, really. I lucked out. I always thought it was funny how people thought I was doing such a good deed and a nice thing going to visit her. The truth is, once we met, I was hooked. I didn't go visit Ylaria because she was sick and I could make anything better. (As the frosting bag incident attests, I usually just added a lot of ridiculous mixed in with some crazy.) I went to visit Ylaria because she was my little best friend. I couldn't wait for the next chance to see her. The next time to bring her band aids. The next time to give her a hug. I was her #1 fan. Her silly sidekick.

I am selfish with Ylaria because when I cry, I am really crying for myself. I know she is in a better place and it is cruel of me to wish her back. No person, no child, should ever have to endure what she did. I am selfish in my sadness. In my grief. I am crying for all that I have lost, for all of the things I miss now that Ylaria is not here. Not here with me in body, and I have to stress that last part. In spirit, Ylaria is with me always. She's in the pink and yellow tulips I keep by my desk to brighten my day. She is in every text and phone call I have with Belen. She is in all of my laughter and all of my tears. She is in all of my memories. She is in my heart.

Belen, thank you for laughing with me and crying with me. Thank you for sharing so many beautiful memories. I carry Ylaria in my heart. I will never forget her. It would be like forgetting a part of myself, simply impossible.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I have a friend, a dear friend, who is hurting. She misses her Erin.

I have been sitting in front of my computer trying to figure out what, if anything, I can do. If there is anything at all I can do, it's to share Erin with you.

Erin is my verb inspiration. We never met in person, but as I told Vickie, our souls must have met at some point. Not a day goes by without me thinking of Erin. Erin has inspired me to do so much. She has inspired me to verb. To live. To be fully in the world.

It was Erin who first reminded me how much I love the sky. I had forgotten, for a time, about my love for the sky and on my very first verb-filled day, I looked up and I saw it, really saw it. And, I fell in love all over again. My brother is in the sky. And so is Abuelo, and Dorita and Titi and Duche. Erin is in the sky too, with Christi and Kayla and Ylaria. The sky is full of people I love. When I see the sky, I see the love and I feel the love and I remember the love. The people my heart misses seem less far away in these sky moments. Erin helped me remember the sky; for that I will be forever grateful.

So, if you have a moment, please visit Erin's blog today. Get to know the amazing Erin and leave some love. I know you'll be inspired. And, if you're in my area on Sunday, please let me know because I'll be verbing an Erin favorite: BEAD. And beading is always more fun with friends.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why bother with Lent?

After my photo project, I was asked by a few people to keep writing and sharing. I found it really touching that people thought so much of what I had already shared and I promised to share something on a weekly basis (with a picture). This "something" will be absolutely anything I choose (unless you provide suggestions/questions, of course!)

Before I begin today's post, I want to say this: Religion and faith are two very different things, at least in my mind. I don't want to go into religion here. It's not the place and religion isn't something that moves me or inspires me or makes me believe in something more. Faith does all of this. Faith brings Life to my soul.

I have been giving a lot of thought to Lent these days, being that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and I have already been asked what I am going to give up or what I am going to add in.

Here's the thing, I really like Lent. A lot. In this crazy fast-paced, 24/7 world, Lent is a time where I find more time to stop, more time to quiet my mind, more time to be present in the world. I "bother" with Lent because, for me, it's not about the suffering or the denial or the fasting or the ashes. Lent is more than just 40 days without chocolate or TV or Facebook. It's 40 days of reflection and searching and faith. It's a "spring cleaning" for my soul.

I am giving up sugar because I am completely addicted to it. Completely. And because I want to learn to respond to things like stress and anger and boredom in more constructive, positive, faith-filled ways than by simply reaching for another piece of chocolate. Lately, I have been so sad and I have been filling the sadness with things that never actually fill me at all.

I am adding in prayer because I have been so busy I can't hear my Self anymore. I have been feeling lost and lonely. I believe that prayer will give my soul the comfort it so sorely needs. I believe in God and angels and Something bigger than myself and my world. I have not been giving my faith the room it needs to spread its wings. Lent gives me that time, if I allow it.

And after I have shared all of this, I have to say, I think I love Lent because it ends in Easter and Easter is my very favorite holiday. A very wise friend said one Lent a few years ago, "Easter is about Hope and Easter is coming." Every soul needs hope to live. I live in hope and I am looking forward to 40 beautiful hope-filled days.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photo Project Day #31

Day #31: A picture of yourself. (The last day of the photo project).

This photo isn't just of myself, obviously, but with it being March 1st, I needed to find a picture of my brother. Manny passed away 16 years ago today. It's a long time to miss someone. It's also a long time to love them and honor them and live with them in your heart. I have tried my best to do just that.

About the picture. It was taken some time in the spring of 1994. I love it because we're all so happy and together and it's a beautiful day outside. We're appreciating the moment. Manny taught us so much about that-- about loving what you have while you have it. He always knew how to make us smile and laugh-- how to make us happy. (Here's a little random tangent-- When people tell me they think I am funny, I always take it as a huge compliment. My brother was one of the funniest people I know and when I am told I am funny, it makes me think that I am like him, at least a little, and that makes me so very happy.)

Today isn't going to be a sad day for me. I am determined to fill it with happy things and many verbs. I already had a really awesome Christi run this morning and enjoyed the beautiful sky on my walk to work-- March 1st off to a good start. Manny wouldn't want it any other way.