Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Reason to Disobey

"XI." by Wendell Berry

Though he was ill and in pain,
in disobedience to the instruction he
would have received if he had asked,
the old man got up from his bed,
dressed, and went to the barn.
The bare branches of winter had emerged
through the last leaf-colors of fall,
the loveliest of all, browns and yellows
delicate and nameless in the gray light
and the sifting rain. He put feed
in the troughs for eighteen ewe lambs,
sent the dog for them, and she
brought them. They came eager
to their feed, and he who felt
their hunger was by their feeding
eased. From no place in the time
of present places, within no boundary
nameable in human thought,
they had gathered once again,
the shepherd, his sheep, and his dog
with all the known and the unknown
round about to the heavens' limit.
Was this his stubbornness or bravado?
No. Only an ordinary act
of profoundest intimacy in a day
that might have been better. Still
the world persisted in its beauty,
he in his gratitude, and for this
he had most earnestly prayed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I love pie!

Have I ever mentioned my huge weakness for pie? Huge. Specifically fruit pies: apple, cherry, peach, blackberry and even blueberry--oh, and cobbler. Cobbler is also delectable.

Today is my 3 day mark of working in the real world. I've survived my new job 3 days. I have 2 more days and then I will have survived a week.

That is why I am eating pie. Well, that, and my Aunt Nancy makes the best fruit pies ever. They're also healthy, due to a sufficient lack of over-sugarizing it, so the guilt-factor is way, way down.

I don't have a lot to say on the subject of work, seeing as I've only had 3 days of it, but it is going to be hard and a lot of work and I think I'm going to like it a lot. One of my first assignments includes interviewing every member of the Ohio Statehouse legislature (99 Reps, 33 Senators), all of whom are up for re-election in the fall minus half the Senate, as well as the Governor. Next year is a Budget year too, so this is going to be a ruthless next few months.

I'm staying with my cousin and her family this week until I move into my apartment this weekend. I get to play with her 7 month baby, which makes me so happy. I love babies. I helped raise all my siblings, spent the last 3 years with the 5 Siegels kids and now I'm going to feel baby deprived for a while since my cousins are moving to GA in 3 weeks, where my cousin's husband is going to practice medicine (he specializes in ENT). I'm reading 3 books right now, which is a little naughty, only because I am trying to read sequentially, but I think multi-reading (a form of multi-tasking) is a habit I picked up in college, and not easily broken. I haven't been writing as much as I've wanted, but I only graduated 3 weeks ago and they've all been a blur. I have been writing letters, though, and thank you notes. I do love writing letters and look forward to writing lots this summer.

My June is booked, as of today. My cousins are coming to Columbus the first weekend; I go to training for Buckeye with Laura (the other journalist hired) the second week with the other reporters from the other 49 state-based think tanks; Michigan the third week for a Hillsdale friend's wedding (Cara, who used to coach soccer with me!); home the fourth week for Muff's Shakespeare performance on Friday and a triple party on Saturday (Mike's high school graduation party, my graduation party and my parents' 25th wedding anniversary party).

I went to a luncheon today where my boss was the keynote speaker and all I can think about is how much work I'm going to be doing and how needed my work is to help turn around Ohio. Perhaps that over exaggerates my importance in the scheme of things, but I like knowing I'll be helping contribute to an accountability in government and a chipping away at an ignorance too many constituents (myself readily included) have about state and local politics, as well as help make much needed reformations. If Ohio does not increase anything in the budget next year, for example, at this point, we'll still be 8 million dollars in debt even before we've started spending more money. That makes me a little sick to my stomach.

Here's to eating pie!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Paddy Murphy!

This is Paddy Murphy week at Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). Paddy Murphy was a bootlegger and an SAE who was gunned down by one of Al Capone's men, who was also and SAE and who Murphy gave the secret SAE handshake as he was dying. Realizing that he had killed a brother, this week was set up to commemorate brotherhood. It's a week filled with fun, shenanigans and drinking. My Dad and all my uncles are SAEs and Paddy Murphy has always held a legend-like status in my home. This week, I had the opportunity to experience a little bit of it myself. It was awesome (!!!).

There are currently 8 grand kids on my mom's side in college. Of those 8, two are girls (my sister and I) and of the six boys, four go to UC and all four are SAEs. The only reason I would ever want to be a boy is that I could be an SAE. I would be a very different person, but I would love it so much. It was really fun to be at a huge college party after spending four years at a tiny college with decent but smaller fraternity parties. Although that definitely was not my scene in college, I did have friends I would stop by the frats for; it's different having family at a house though. It's been so terrific these past few days sharing the SAE party scene with my cousins, especially Tommy, and knowing that my Dad and uncles and Mom and aunts all spent time at the house and in the area I was in and around. That's a neat part of going to a school like UC.

Here's the Paddy Murphy song:

(Have I mentioned how much I love being Irish?)

Dad's birthday today! Big Five-Oh. Mom, Muffy, Kato and I are taking him out to lunch and then my cousin Andrew's rehearsal dinner that night. We're throwing him a surprise lunch tomorrow before my cousin's wedding Saturday night. I've been packing this week. Dad and I went through the list of everything I'll need and what I'll be taking from home. I move into my new apartment next weekend, which is still a little surreal.

Another Hillsdale couple got engaged this week though, so more evidence that people are growing up all around me! It was interesting being at the party tonight because all I could think was, I'm happy to be here, but I am done with college. At SAE, I talked and laughed lots, met people and had a great time, but didn't even sip the many beers offered to me because I didn't intend to stay long. I love alcohol, but I don't need it and I don't always want it. Even last year, I don't think I would have felt this way. It's actually a great feeling, saying no to beer.

And that's how I showed my respect for Paddy Murphy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I think I am going to have to make Thursday poems an event on my Google Calender

You will forgive me for being so tardy on my weekly poems because this week's is so good. I found it recently and absolutely adore it. Don't be surprised if I post it again in the future, it's simply too glorious not to keep sharing with people.

"Sea-Fever" by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Elation and Encyclicals

I found this really great encyclical by Pope St. Pius X, delivered in September of 1907: PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS - "On the Doctrines of the Modernists"

one of my favorite parts:
And so they audaciously charge the Church both with taking the wrong road from inability to distinguish the religious and moral sense of formulas from their surface meaning, and with clinging tenaciously and vainly to meaningless formulas whilst religion is allowed to go to ruin. Blind that they are, and leaders of the blind, inflated with a boastful science, they have reached that pitch of folly where they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true nature of the religious sentiment; with that new system of theirs they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, condemned by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can rest and maintain truth itself.

After reading this encyclical, I would not be surprised at all if Eric Voegelin had read it as well. Another Voegelin-esque, "don't immanentize the eschaton" encyclical is Pope Benedict XVI's "
Spe Salvi," in which he begins,

SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?

The encyclical is well-written and beautiful--and, of course, you've got to love all the mentions of the logos! :)

Currently reading 'Father Elijah: An Apocalypse' by Michael D. O'Brien, as recommended by my good friend and new co-EIC of the Hillsdale Forum, Anna Williams. Anna and Matt Cole are taking over the paper next year. I am very pleased with the transfer.

At home: puppy is perpetually by my side, which is wonderful. I'm organizing and re-organizing; packing and re-packing; planning without a ready plan, and preparing for my move in two weeks. I start work in less than one, though, so I need to get this all sorted now. Megan put in "The Lion King" today and I felt so old when the voice-over said, "Coming Soon in Videocassette!" Dad and I are going car shopping tomorrow; I also get to drive Marianne to school tomorrow. She's in exams right now.

Life continues wonderful! I am glad to be home with my family.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Flow of a Friday

"The Ritualists" by William Carlos Williams

In May, approaching the city, I
saw men fishing in the backwash
between the slips, where at the time
no ship lay. But though I stood

watching long enough, I didn't see
one of them catch anything
more than quietness, to the formal
rhythms of casting---that slow dance.

(H/T Scott Keenan)

I apologize for being a day late on the poem, but I was in Columbus with my Mom yesterday apartment shopping. I also got to see my big April, which was marvelous. I am 99.9% sure I have secured one; am dealing with monetary means and looking at cars now. Graduating is expensive!

It is really, really, really good to be home, though. Lots of sibling time, lots of parents time, lots of Heidi time and lots of cousin time. I had brunch with my friend Monica today, which was so lovely. She and I went to Ursuline together. She went to IU and has been studying abroad in France. She's now going into Teach For America down in the Mississippi Delta. I've promised to visit only if we get to go crawdaddy fishing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

James Otis, found!

James Otis was the man whose four-five hour oration to the Massachusetts General Assembly is perhaps the very reason for the American Revolution. I wrote my research paper on him for the Founding of the American Republic class, so Matt and I have a fun, competitive spirit over Otis since he thought it would be unfair to have Otis on the midterm/ final as an ID since I wrote 15 pages on him and his contribution to the Revolution from the English common law. Matt is in Boston right now, potentially getting a job (fingers crossed!) and he found Otis' grave and sent me the picture. Isn't it fantastic?! Otis is a man more Americans should know about, he is a fantastic example of a pre-patriot American.

Today was filled with apartment-hunting and writing my honors seminar final. I watched 'The Young Victoria' with my cousin and sisters, got my crackberry fixed, talked to my parents, attempted to convince our housekeeper why she should make me food after I move away from home, and spent a lovely amount of time with Heidi and the siblings. J'adore home!

Tamed, thanks to Hillsdale College

Dr. Jackson's 2010 Spring Convocation speech. It was so incredible, I'm glad the college has shared it. The actual speech starts around 8 minutes, but before that is a healthy dose of Larry P. Arnn and lots of Hillsdale-ness. Hilarious, insightful, heart-warming and wrenching, and absolutely glorious. Thank you, Dr. Jackson.

For those who know me especially well, you must know how much I enjoyed this speech, with my pre-occupation with suffering, humanity, and the logos which binds man to man, man to God. I think a recognition of the necessity of suffering is the first essential step of what it means to be human and to know God through suffering. Christ suffered to pay for our sins, and so our suffering is only meant to bring us closer to Him.

There is a healthy aspect of suffering which is not apparent, nor flaunted, or even exposed. It understands Death, accepts loss, cultivates friendships and relationships with an understanding that they may not last or stay the same--and that they should never stay the same. Life is not meant to be stagnant. As Whittaker Chambers wrote, one must understand that life is pain, and that each of us hangs upon a cross of ourselves.

It would be melodramatic of me to say I am suffering in any tangible way, but I expose a little part of me and admit I grieve a loss of being at the physical college and the opportunities there to partake in fun, fellowship and non-coercive suffering brought on by long nights of studying and too many cups of coffee. Perhaps not yet--I am too happy to be home, with my parents, siblings, cousins and extended family and of course, my dear dog Heidi. But even this is coming to an end. My mother and I go to Columbus on Thursday to look for apartments. Then again, I shouldn't mind ends--"to make an end is to make a beginning" said Eliot. The brimming possibility excites and saddens me, but always in a joy-filled, for the glory of God way (ad maiorem dei gloriam!). After all, it is His will be done, not mine.

This is my first post after graduation, but I can't quite comment on that yet. My last evening in Hillsdale included a wonderful dinner with the Siegels, in which they gave me a little photo album of pictures from the past 3 1/2 years of knowing them; the nicest card; Gretchen made me a story book; Benedict colored me a picture. Prof. Siegel was my American Heritage teacher freshman year. I walked into his office and asked how I could get an 'A' in his class. He said most people got Bs and Cs. I said Okay; so how do I get an A? We've gotten along swimmingly since then (even though I got an A-, which was still the second highest grade in both sections overall).

The Siegels are another family to me. I have been blessed with so many families taking me under their wing and pseudo-adopting me, but my relationship with this devout and soccer-obsessed family is one never to leave me and always to affect me. Their love sustained me during dark days of college, and embedded joy for all the rest. When my Dad said he was worn out after entertaining Jerome during dinner, I smiled and said I could take care of all five and found it pure bliss. Nothing says I love you like letting five children turn you into a human jungle gym, playing soccer and reading stories, helping them cut their food, say their prayers and brush their teeth, and entwining your life with theirs. Of all my happy moments at the college, the Siegels encapsulate a sizable chunk.

The Chamber Choir singing at Spring Convocation, for those seeking goodness and beauty:

And for those seeking truth-- from the 1853 cornerstone of Central Hall: "May earth be better and heaven be richer because of the life and labor of Hillsdale College."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

To strive, to seek, to find, and never, ever, ever to yield.

Here's to a great four years of college!

"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch where through
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought
with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I finished/ turned in another epic research paper yesterday (on marriage and the government). I'm finishing a paper right now, editing and turning in my thesis, talking to a teacher, going to the store (I'm throwing a little dinner for Betsy and Zach's engagement tonight at Kappa), going to the orchestra concert and spending time with friends. See you SO soon, Rachel! My family is coming up tomorrow too, so you can see Mom and Meg again, and meet the rest of the gang. :) I can't believe I graduate in 3 days! Eek! Sarah and I had dinner at Prof. Siegel's last night and it was incredibly wonderful. I think one of the best parts about leaving college is the number of professors I will still be in contact with and whom I can call friends and/ or mentors. So many blessings to count at this wonderful school of ours...