Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving Thanks for Time

I leave for Buffalo on Wednesday. The rest of my family arrived from Cape Cod last night and I couldn't be happier about spending Thanksgiving with my mom, dad, sister, neice, grandparents, uncle, aunt, and cousins (as well as seeing all the millions of second cousins that still live in the area).

Since I've moved to Pittsburgh, I've been up to Buffalo three times. It seems like it should be more, yet I am incredibly grateful that I can go up so often. It's been nice to just clean the house for my Nonna and cook meals for the both of them. The only downside is that I always ending up gaining five pounds after every weekend I spend there!

The last time I was there, three weeks ago, it seemed as if the whole situation was so hopeless. I don't know what to think anymore. I don't know if I should hold onto hope or if I should resign myself to the worst. The only problem is I can't quite seem to do the latter. I have no reference point in my brain for life without my Nonna. Is that even possible? What will I do without our quiet evenings on the porch just holding her hand? Helping her cook in the kitchen? Hearing her tell stories in Italian? The loving bickering she does with my Nonno? I cannot fathom it. I feel as though so much will be lost with the passing of my entire chunk of history will be gone.

I savor every moment with them...but, it's never enough. I wish I could just absorb everything about them into my very being and keep it forever, always as fresh and clear as it is now and not dimmed by time as I know my memories will eventually become.

How does one even begin to cope with the inevitable?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Run And Not Grow Weary

On Starting to Run Again.

Every time I take a break from running and then start up again, I always think that I can just pick up where I left off and not have to work myself up to where I was before. It makes me frustrated to think how much faster, stronger I could be if I had just never stopped in the first place.

On Running in the Cold.

The cold air slices through my lungs like a knife and leaves them feeling raw and tattered. Pushing through the pain of my searing chest is worse than pushing through the proverbial "runner's wall." With the wall, it's simply a mental exercise of pushing through the exhaustion and muscle cramps. With my lungs it never gets better....only worse....until the saliva in my mouth tastes like blood and I think that I'm dying.

On How Much I Love my Under Armor.

I adore its thinsulated amazingness.

On Running On A Track.

I've never enjoyed running in a circle, I prefer the changing scenery of running on a trail or through neighborhoods. But, Pittsburgh is so damn hilly that it's hard to run anywhere without killing myself. I'm attempting to work up to it, but, let's be honest, I'm going to be running in the Schenely Oval for awhile yet.

On Always Feeling Like I Have To Outrun Everyone Else.

This doesn't work and only makes me look like an idiot. It's better to find my stride and keep my own rhythm. I am at peace there and could run forever...or until the cold gets the better of my lungs....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Encumbered Forever By Desire...

I had an argument with God this evening whilst driving home from work. He won. As usual. Why does He always have to be right? Oh...yeah...He's God.

The last week has been incredibly peaceful and joyful. I've come (again) to the place of contentment and trust, knowing that God will take care of everything, no matter what. And happened. And it's not like anything catastrophic or horrible went wrong, it was just kind of....blah. And I don't know what triggered it, but all of a sudden I was so frustrated to have this longing inside me for something beyond what I have that I started yelling at God for putting the longing inside me in the first place. See, apparently He thinks that it's not good for man to be alone, but I think I'd prefer life without all the drama, thankyouverymuch.

And not that I'm all-of-a-sudden an uber "anything you can do I can do better" feminist, but I've changed dramatically over the past three years to become more and more independent and okay with the single life. Actually, more than okay, just plain old content with it. The fact of the matter is, I've learned to be self-sufficient to the point that I really don't need a man to:
  1. Make me feel like I'm a complete person
  2. Do handy things around the house
  3. Buy me pretty things
  4. Keep me warm at night
  5. Hold me when I'm sad
At this point in my life, all of the above are just luxuries, added line items that I can do without. All of the above items except the first one. More and more I get frustrated when the idea is implied that, as a woman, I need to find my worth in a relationship/man. Why? Why is that the way it has to be? It's not the 1950s anymore when women truly did rely on men to provide and take care of them. Now, I am self-sufficient without the help of a significant other.

I can't deny that we were created for companionship (which is where my aforementioned argument with God originated). And I can't deny that it's nice to have a warm body in the bed next to me; however, I don't right now, so why should I pine away for it?

I know and believe all this, and yet, I feel like I was slapped in the face this afternoon by the longing for someone. Why is that? And how do I get it to go away?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I'm in Pittsburgh now. But, I refuse to change my car registration to become a resident of Pennsylvania. I'm still holding onto being a Mass-Hole-achusettsian and that includes the way I drive, the way I judge people based on the way they dress and their educational level, and the way I talk. I am remembering what a Yankee Snob I am and I'm not quite sure I hate it. Although, it's hard to find my identity in being a Yankee snob and in Christ at the same time. I should probably work on that.

In so many ways I find myself completely comfortable and at home here and I feel as if I shouldn't. Feeling at home away from the ocean seems wrong on so many levels...and not just in a place where the closest beach is six hours away, but Pittsburgh of all places. This area of the country holds its own beauty: the way the mist fills the valley in the morning and the sun shines in long tendrils through the haze before the vapor is burned up in the warmth; the acres upon acres of serene farm land located just 20 minutes outside of the city; the way the skyline looms up in the windshield when I crest the hill where my house is located. However, because of how much I struggled with living in Waynesburg my freshman year of college (and sophomore and half of junior year) and how adamant I've always been about never moving and living in Pittsburgh, it's strange for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I'm enjoying life in this city. It's strange for me to not have to use my GPS everywhere I go anymore and to feel a general sense of ease.

I'm planning a trip home for Labor Day weekend and as excited as I am to be able to see my family and friends (and the ocean!) I also find myself realizing that I'm not as desperate to go home as I was two weeks ago when I booked the plane tickets. Desperate really isn't the right word to use, but I was very much focused on home. It is always good to come home, but the more that I travel away and return, the easier the process becomes of saying hello and goodbye. We'll see if I still feel that way in two weeks.

So, we will see what this chapter of my life brings to me...the possibilities are endless...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

That Hideous Strength

I had a dream that I was running and I never got tired, but I was carrying all these random things that hindered me and I didn't want to carry them, but I didn't want to leave them either. I was in the neighborhood of the house I lived in when I was a young girl, but no one in my family was in the house when I walked in the front door. No one was there at all.

It was a strange dream and I only mention it because I feel like it has something to do with...something. I'm sure the only meaning behind it is the fact that I've been jogging and last time I went out I got cold...thus why I was carring a bulky hoodie in my dream. Makes sense, right?

However, as is my wont, I looked up my dream online and every site I visited told me in no uncertain terms that to dream that you are running with ease signifies freedom and confidance. I hope that that means my life as a whole, because I don't feel free and confident at the moment. I feel trapped and stressed and anxious and incredibly vulnerable. There are too many things happening in my life and as I've thought about how to record them, I simply come up empty handed and overwhelmed by the plethora of thoughts coursing through my mind.

My beloved Nonna, grandmother on my father's side, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month. Oh dreaded word! I had a co-worker a couple of years ago who was diagnosed with the same. He quit on the spot and spent his last days enjoying his family and enjoying life. He died 9 months later. This is the first thing I thought of when I heard the news. No, when I first heard the news I couldn't think of anything behind the searing pain in my mind. I couldn't focus on anything else but clenching my skirt in my hands because somehow it seemed that as long as I held on tight enough, everything would refocus.

Everything has not refocused. The tears have not stopped since and they come at the most inopportune times. Like right now. Sitting at my desk after a frustrating morning and I think of when I stayed with her for 3 weeks when she fought and beat cancer the first time 10 years ago. "The most important tool in the kitchen are your hands," she told me as she measured grated parmesian cheese in her work-worn, beautiful hands. We were making zucchini pattis like only she can make them. It's funny how I can make them exactly the way she does, follow all the steps and use all the same ingrediants, but it's never the same. Life will never be the same without her.

And yet, I still have hope that she'll survive the chemo and the radiation as they shrink the tumor and operate to remove it. The fact that the doctors are hopeful, in the face of such a hopeless cancer, gives me hope that I am all at once grateful for and completely scared of.

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding..."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Sound of Silence

Not sure what to write. I've been less and less committed to this idea of sharing my thoughts for the world to see. I've been journaling a lot* and I find it so rewarding. I mean, I've kept a journal since I was eight years old** yet, despite the fact that I have five journals filled with my life, I always feel it should be more. I'm so undisciplined when it comes to maintaining a journal. For instance, the one I'm writing in now I started in July of last year, wrote one page, the next entry is dated in September, then it skips to February where it actually becomes consistant.

Why do I do this? I am a huge advocate of keeping a personal journal even if it's for the sole purpose of therapy, e.g. writing your thoughts on paper and considering them before acting on emotion. However, even more important for me is being able to go back and re-read my life story as I saw it at the time and remember the lessons learned, the mistakes made, the feelings, the emotions, the dreams I forgot about long ago.

My new thing is to write at least two pages a day and I've been faithful to that for the past three days...actually writing more than two pages a day. I've felt so much more relaxed, more peaceful. I've also been adopting this whole concept of silence in my life such as not listening to the radio while I'm driving, not turning the TV on the instant I get home from work, not feeling the need to fill time with others with useless conversation. It's incredibly freeing and, might I say, zen. Is it ok to say that if I'm not a Buddhist? Speaking of which, Buddhism is not the only religion where silence and self-denial are necessary aspects to life. I've been meditating a lot on the whole concept of, "Be still and know that I am God." What does it mean to truly be still?

In our fast-paced American life-style, I think the only definition of being still that we have is sleep...or death. The whole, "I won't stop 'till I'm dead" mentality is so pervasive and it's hard to not buy into it. Why do we feel like the busier we are, the more clout we have? As if somehow the number of things we're involved in defines our success? I am no different. I've never really successfully learned how to live a life with margins. True, I go through my seasons when I'm not as busy as others, but for the most part, I feel that if I'm not doing anything, I'm wasting time. Yet, just sitting in the beautiful Spring-like weather we've been having and reflecting on the changing of is this wasting time?

I've been reading a book by Doug Fields, Refuel: An Uncomplicated Guide to Connecting with God, that is totally inspiring me. The whole concept is to learn how to stop and seek silence, to spend time focusing on the Lord. It doesn't have to be for 2 hours every morning, heck, it doesn't even have to be for 20 minutes in the morning, it can be as easy as taking a minute in one's car before starting the commute to work. I've been totally embracing this type of lifestyle, just being more aware of what I'm doing and checking in with myself to see if I'm really being productive and alert or just going through the motions in an attempt to get through the day. Because truly, that's the real time-waster...rushing through tasks just to complete them. How much do we miss when we forget to see, to feel, to enjoy life?

I spent the first five minutes of my commute in complete silence, observing the beauty of creation and taking joy in my Creator. And you know what? I had no road rage whatsoever. Who woulda thunk?

*like, REAL a book with blank pages to be filled with the dreams of the author
**or, as I called it back then, a diary. To be completely honest, I called it Danai after the mother of Perseus in Greek mythology because I thought it was wicked cool to name my diary...or as I used to spell it, "Dairy." Yeah, I was skilled.....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cornucopia of Thoughts

Closing weekend of the musical. The usual bittersweet feelings are going through me. This musical is definitely ready to be put to bed, but on the other hand, it's always a bummer not seeing everyone every weekend and having a pleasant diversion from a normally monotonous week. However, I must say with the warmer weather and longer days it will be nice to start going for jogs in the evening when I get home from work and not have to worry about rushing off to the theater. Or perhaps I can actually start running in the morning before heading into work now that I can go to bed earlier. Plus, with my Friday nights free again that means I'll be heading back to youth group and hanging out with the kids in my church which is always rewarding.

I've missed the girls a lot. Looking back on when I was in middle and high school it's hard to remember if I was as great as these girls are. I think I was...haha. More and more I'm starting to see how God is revealing more of my calling to me, especially in the way of youth ministry. I never considered that to be my calling or my forte in the least, but the more I'm able to invest in these kids' lives, the more in love with it I become.

Nothing makes that more clear to me than some of the relationships I've been able to build in the theater during the show. One in particular has just warmed my heart and I'm so excited to see what beautiful things God will bring of it.

In other news, I'm feeling pretty amazing lately. What with all the weight loss, totally changing my diet, and being able to get out and run again, it's no wonder my body is totally loving me. I don't even miss the sugar or the meat either. I used to say I could never become a vegetarian, much less a vegan, because I loved meat too much. Now, it's a little on the unappetizing side.

I could go on and on about diet and health, but I digress for now. Back to work!

Friday, February 20, 2009


The second week of Sound of Music opened well. We had a great audience last night. For anyone who has ever been involved in live theater, you know how important it is to have a good audience: one who is quiet when they're supposed to be quiet, applaud/laugh/gasp in all the right places, and most importantly give back a lot of energy.

This show has been a little surrealistic for me. Yesterday I had to keep reminding myself that we had a show that night. I guess it's always hard coming off of two weeks of rehearsals every night, moving right into opening the show, and then all-of-a-sudden having 3 days off. But, I didn't forget any of my lines or lyrics, so that mini panic attack I had yesterday was completely unfounded.

There's been a lot of stuff going around my mind besides the musical, but for some reason that always seems to dominate. I went to Brewster Green on Wednesday night and sat in the sauna for awhile as I collected my thoughts about some things...mostly work...and since work dominates most of my time that basically means life.

I was offered a freelance correspondent position with the newspaper at which I interned five years ago. As excited as I am about the possibility of seeing my name in print again, I'm also a nervous wreck. What if I forget everything about how to write a solid lead and nut graph? What if all literary prowess deserts me? What if I can't fit it into my schedule? What if I end up running myself ragged and failing at everything?

I think a lot of my anxiety is coming from the fact that I really don't know what this potential job entails. This newspaper is only weekly, but does that mean I'll be writing every week? How many stories a week? Maybe just a couple stories a month? These are all questions that are going unanswered as I wait to hear back from the managing editor. I mean, this could solve the problem of whether or not I work part-time at the resort again this summer, but man, even if I only write one story a week my schedule's going to be pretty packed with a 40-hour job plus the radio all day Saturday.

And I was thinking of auditioning for Godspell this summer? Why do I never learn how to not overbook myself? If I was an airline company, I would be giving away free trip vouchers left and right.

I guess only time will answer all these questions and solve all these problems. And sitting around waiting for that to happen is so enjoyable for an impatient person.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Hills Are Alive

I'm listening to Snow Patrol right now. I'm going to pretend like I haven't neglected this blog for two months.

This has been hell week at the theater. The week before production is always hell week. My life is work, theater. Theater, work. I wouldn't change it.

I've been reflective lately on my time at the little theater on a hill, thinking about my debut on its stage this time two years ago as Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. I'm not so much nostalgic about the show, however great of a show it was, but more on the place in which I found myself at the time. Living on my own for the first time ever. Breaking up with Ben...the worst heart-ache of my life. Not knowing who I was anymore. All my insecurities and financial stress. Trying too hard and looking too far and craving too much.

I was talking to the roommate last night about how, despite all the good times I've had up to this point in my life, I wouldn't go back. I'm enjoying this contentment too much to want anything else. Even if I can't stay up as late as I used to or if I don't find enjoyment in drunken revelries like a "normal" 25-year-old, I like this place better; this place of peace. This place of being comfortable in my own skin.

We open the Sound of Music on Thursday and a week from then will be the two-year aniversary of breaking up with Ben, of starting this wonderful journey of rediscovering myself and God and life with all its joys and sorrows.

I'm listening to Snow Patrol right now. And I feel nothing but the enjoyment of a good album.