1. The Book of Helen....
I am still in limbo about the final edits of Helen. That doesn't mean I'm being idle though, I've started reading The Odyssey again and outlining. Having written a book without the benefit of an outline but with the resources of multiple myths detailing Helen's story, I will now try writing a book using an outline to make up for the fact that Penelope has far fewer stories about her life than Helen.
2. What I've been up to...
This past weekend, I had the luxury of journeying to Saint Mary's College for my 25th year reunion. I'd been a bit down as no one from my key core of five friends would be there. Two are deceased. One has deliberately withdrawn from all contact, and the other two for various reasons did not come. But not having the people I would have naturally clung to, allowed me to rediscover all the wonderful women I didn't quite know while I was at SMC, as I was busy being the age that I was. One fellow classmate summed it up as she lamented she had lost out on something of the experience by not going to football games. Another thought she had missed it by living off campus. A third worried about what she missed in going abroad and another, what she did not experience by not travelling to other countries.
What we all sensed was glow of each other's college education, and how theirs was somehow fuller than our own, but the reality, was each of us had a limited experience of the school based on our own hang ups and need to grow up, and that none of us could have "the Saint Mary's experience." Collectively, we were the Saint Mary's experience. It's as if each of us as the bricks of the building were lamenting that we were not the whole building, because we loved the whole building and could not quite see how we fit into the structure, integrity and strength of the school itself.
3. What I'm Reading...
I just finished Elizabeth Scalia's Strange Gods while on the plane back from Southbend, Indiana. I have to say, if you buy this book, don't use a high lighter, or you will find your book is soggy from yellow underlining before you get to the last page. I had to pace myself because my natural tendency is to gallop through reading, as if the finish line is the goal, rather than absorbing what is said. That being said, I found the whole experience delicious. There were wonderful passages and lines that revealed how we perpetually engage in the creation of idols in our everyday life and stories that made me laugh aloud while pondering my own ability to put many things in front of those I love including God. I also love the cover!
4. Understanding Face
It is a gift I've never fully understood but always been very grateful to have. Despite being a lousy listener who can't remember names to faces, total strangers tell me their stories. Getting a hotdog in the Terminal C in Chicago in between flights, a lovely woman named Lolita served me. She also told me how she'd lost 70 pounds on weight watchers but couldn't get her sister to do it, her sister opted for a surgical method of reduction. I told her that was inspiring and she should go on the website and send a testimonial. She showed me a before picture. It was an impressive transformation. Then she served another customer but before I left, she called me over and whispered how she dreamed of one day helping children between 13 and 17 who had been written off. I told her I hoped she would.
5. Favorite Moments
I wish I wish I wish I'd brought a camera to the weekend. But there is a photo in my head of my two favorite teachers, Sister Jeanne and Jean Rodes talking to each other, beaming smiles and arms open across the table from me. Friday I'd squeezed in eating with them and we took three hours which felt like nothing, I could have listened to their lives all day. It was a feast in so many ways to just be in their company.
6. Other Favorite Moment
Walking to the Grotto at Notre Dame to light a candle, to pray for a family, for all those I carry in the rosary, for all I met that weekend, for all those at home. It was a walk I'd made so many times but it never grows old. I love those old trees that cradle the road and the quiet beauty of that prayerful replication of the vision of the Blessed Mother by Saint Bernadette at Lourdes.
7. When I came back....
Anna decided I should be a chair. Paul voted for pillow. Either way, both have determined Mom isn't going anywhere without them. It's good to be home.