Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Louisiana!

We wild cisneri have had a divine day. I hope the same is true of you all and your families.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Sister (w/ a little update)

My sister and I are pretty tight.

It's funny, in the parental genetic roulette, we ended up very physically distinct from each other. I was never a particularly teeny child, but she has been utterly minute from day one; my dark curly hay stack of hair could hardly be more different than her well-behaved straight locks; likewise her multicolored eyes to my dark solid irises; she has her mom's nose, I have our dad's. I don't think people look at us and say, "Ah! You are sisters!"

Sadly, she does seem to have my teeth (which I eventually grew into, with the help of orthodontia, so there's hope for her yet).

I do believe that people spend time with us and see there is clearly a common root between us. I mean, really, how could two such bizarre characters exist otherwise, if they were not sprung from the same place? At her age, I was equally obsessed with the written word, as great of a dork, comparably creative, and very nearly as weird. She's gaining on me in her introspective tendencies. Every time I go home, our mom makes some comment about how she's more and more like a mini-Andie every day.

Fish Face was born about eight weeks premature. The night before she was born, I dreamed our dad came into my room, woke me up, and told me not to go to school in the morning. He was taking Mom to the hospital and would call me to check in regularly (I was nearly thirteen and quite used to being home alone with my younger brother for a while). In the morning, I told my mom about it, and she laughed and said something along the lines of, "Well, let's hope that doesn't happen. It's too soon."

The next night, I had the exact same dream, like a movie being replayed. I awoke in the morning long after I should have left for school and panicked until I found Alex blissfully chowing down on cereal and watching cartoons. And I realized the second time, the dream had not been a dream at all.

I dreamed my sister's birth a day before it happened, and two months earlier than it should have. Make of that what you will.

There is something special about my sister. And I know everyone says that about children they love, but there is truly something very particular about her. If I believed in reincarnation, I would say she is the oldest soul I've ever met, and yet also the most hopeful and searching one. She has always been so, from her earliest days spent in an incubator. My ties to her are not stronger or deeper than those to my brothers; they are thicker. They transmit more.

Mark Shea has posted a few items lately about odd occurrences that can only be explained by the Holy Spirit, which reminded me of that dream, which got me pondering Melissa herself. I am always in awe of the incredible gifts I've been given in my life when I stop to think on them, and even more so the ones that just keep growing and giving more and more. My siblings all fall under that category. Such wondrous things are not made by our kind, but by the One who made us.

Little update: Mr. Shea just posted an e-mail I sent him about my dream in response to his posts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Saints in Space!

And I'm not kidding even a little bit. (Emphasis mine)

NEW CANEY, Texas, NOV. 20, 2008 ( St. Thérèse wrote that she wanted to be a missionary on every continent simultaneously and reach the most remote islands -- now her dream has extended to space flight.

The Carmelite community of New Caney, Texas, enjoys the friendship of Colonel Ron Garan, who was on the May 31-June 14 Discovery shuttle mission.

Before heading into space, Garan had called the women religious to request their prayer for the voyage, and he told them he could take some small item into space on behalf of the community.

The sisters reported that the words of St. Thérèse came to mind: "I have the vocation of an apostle. I would like to travel over the whole earth to preach your name and to plant your glorious cross on infidel soil. But oh, my beloved, one mission would not be enough for me, I would want to preach the Gospel on all five continents simultaneously and even to the most remote isles. I would be a missionary, not for a few years but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages."

The Carmelites gave the astronaut a relic of St. Thérèse for his flight.

Now, they report, she has traveled 5,735,643 miles around the earth for 14 days at 17,057 miles an hour. Meanwhile, the sisters commended the world to her intercession.
I wonder if any other saint's relic has been brought into the cold black beyond our atmosphere. Is Therese our first extraterrestrial saint?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For my fellow Trekkers

I went to see Quantum of Solace with my housemates this past weekend, and when this preview started up I literally squealed and bounced in my seat.

I am not a movie franchise purist. I am a fan of good movies. Most of these recent series revamps/reboots (the new Batmans and the latest Bond movies, for example) have perhaps not been entirely true to the legacy of their predecessors, but they have tended to be darn good movies. I hope and suspect such is the case with J.J. Abram's treatment of my most beloved Star Trek series.

Smoke and mirrors can be pretty cool.

The Year in Pictures pointed me to Miss at la Playa, where we find an awesome series of six photographs. As far as my French translation skills get me, the title of the French Vogue piece is "From 10 to 60". All the images are of the same model, done at the same shoot. The difference is hair, make up, and lighting, and the result is both downright eerie and pretty darn cool.

I'd be very interested to find out how old she actually is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Um. Awesome.

No comment beyond the title is needed.

In America, this doesn't qualify as news.

...but then, I don't live in America. I live in Brownsville, in the Rio Grande Valley. An in the Valley, this sure is news.

"The low temperature in Harlingen dropped to 39 degrees; which was the coldest morning since February 1st of this year. "

I don't think I need to comment on that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's a Small World After All

The first two weeks of the first ACE summer, most conversations are ruled by three topics: where did you go to undergrad, what was your major, and where are you going in ACE? As I happen to have met a lot of people from a lot of different schools during my own four years of undergrad, when I heard a college I was familiar with, I would throw names out to see if there was a common acquaintance. I actually managed to find a pretty big net of odd connections.

I knew all the people on the left in the picture below as many as four years before starting ACE; the people on the right are fellow ACErs who know the left-side folks somehow. Some of the connections aren't too surprising -- if you happen to go to the same school and both go to Mass, odds are you'll know each other at least by name -- but some are really random, like the twins going to grade school with another girl in my VIDES group. All in all, I think it's pretty nifty.

(I think the errors and squiggles make it more amusing, don't you?)

Meanwhile, I have a geographic connection to most of my roommates:
  • Andrew is from a town about 40 minutes from my family in California and went to Gonzaga in Spokane, where I spent a good chunk of my childhood.
  • Steph is from the Seattle area, where I spent an even bigger chunk of my time.
  • Savannah is from Colorado, where I also lived, and lived with her cousin in Seattle for a semester when we were in high school.
It's a small, small world.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Its fall in brownsville!

the gloves and scarves are out to help combat the unseasonably cool temperature OF... 80 degrees.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Virgin's Veil and Star Gazing

I've been sitting on a couple of links for a while, and being as I have work I should be doing but don't want to... well, now is obviously the moment to do post them!

Thomas D. Jones is a Catholic who went into space. I'd like to be one of those. He writes a reflection of the experience worth reading, but this is my favorite part:

Our silent reflection was interrupted by a sudden burst of dazzling white light. The sun had risen (as it did 16 times each day) just as we finished Communion, and now its pure radiance streamed through Endeavour’s cockpit windows and bathed us in its warmth. To me, this was a beautiful sign, God’s gentle touch confirming our union with him.

I rolled away from my crewmates, unable to stem the tears evoked by that singular sunrise. My gaze turned to the overhead windows and the Pacific Ocean, the dawn lighting its surface in a rich, limitless blue.

I called out to Kevin and Sid, “Look at that ocean—what an incredible color!” They both turned and drank in hues unmatched by the palette of any human artist. After a moment, Kevin said simply, “It’s the blue of the Virgin’s veil, Tom.” He was right. There were no other words for that vision out the window.

I apologize to whoever I got that link from in the first place, because I've forgotten where exactly that was.

Meanwhile, back in the farthest reaches of space, as I understand it we have our first pictures of planets in another star system (correct me if I'm wrong). I think that's pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tomato, Potato

Student: What's you favorite song ever, Miss?
Me: Wonderwall, by Oasis.
S: I like that song too!  But my favorite band is AT&T.
Me:  ...What?
S: Yeah, they sing Back in Black.
M: Do you mean AC DC?
S: Ooooooh, that's what their name is.
No.  Comment.  Necessary.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

May our Lady and all the Saints pray for you,
and the holy guardian angels watch over you
and keep you in their safe protection,
and the blessing of God almighty,
the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
descend upon you and remain with you always.

Many more years of health and happiness, Dad. I love you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Totally using this

One of my 8th graders after I "brought [his] self esteem down to -150":
Me: Listen, if I really did that, you have much bigger problems than a teacher could begin to help you with.
Student: Even worse! You took a blind man and poked him in the eye!
I.  LOVE. My job.