Saturday, July 31, 2010

it's a feast! so enjoy!

I'm tryin to tell you somethin bout my life

The last few days have seen the unique torture of moving every item you own out of your house, complete with Nick somehow bending space and time to fit our entire 1000 sq ft apartment into the tiniest U-Haul I've ever seen:


AND with our subsequent semiserious leg injuries from running into the trailer hitch with all our might:

like this but solid metal with more sharp edges

And in the midst of the please-let-this-be-over-soon madness, I got an email from Kevin Wildes SJ PhD, the president of my beloved alma mater Loyola University New Orleans, reminding me that today is the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus and patron saint of the university.

Father Wildes' email contains an excellent summary of Iggie's life that you might enjoy.

Ignatius was born in 1491 as a member of the Basque noble family. He was a courtier and military officer who eventually was wounded in battle. While recovering from his wounds, Ignatius had a deep, personal experience of God's love for him and all creation. Over time he developed an ever deepening awareness that creation was filled with God's presence and that God labored for all members of creation. Because of this experience, Ignatius believed it was possible to "find God in all things." For Ignatius, even the smallest things could lead him to unity with God and he lived his life to give witness to the God of love.

Ignatius and his early companions quickly found themselves at home in universities. Ignatius and the Jesuits thought that universities, which celebrate human accomplishment in the arts, sciences, and the professions, are places where God can be encountered. Ignatius also understood that ideas were not only things to be studied for their own sake but, he believed, our ideas affect who we become as people. Ideas affect the lives we lead, and in this way, they shape the world.

St. Ignatius has inspired and touched me ever since my Ignatian Spirituality class in college with Father Fagin. Iggie's life and legacy fascinates me, and I feel a very special connection with Ignatian spirituality that transcends religion. The tenets of self-awareness, effective love, discernment, and even of finding God in all things speak to me as an atheist and work for me completely in my worldview, so long as I think of "God" as another way of saying "the energy that connects everything," which, let's face it, it basically is.

handsome fellow, huh?

I feel like my years at Loyola really educated me as a whole person--which is one of the hallmarks of Jesuit education--but it wasn't just the 10000 Classics classes I was able to savor. What I learned in that Ignatian Spirituality class alone was worth all four years of tuition. Know yourself. Show your love through your deeds. Wait to make a decision until a feeling of peace moves through you. And most importantly, look for that energy that connects everything everywhere. Have gratitude for it always.

Happy feast of St. Ignatius Loyola! Wish us luck as we travel to Nashville today!

Discussion Question:
Have you ever connected with a religious figure or text or whatever outside of your religious beliefs?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

hell is a half-packed house. pass the packing tape!

I wanna go back to sleep.

To say that things are kind of crazy right now is the understatement of the century. July has seen my bittersweet last day of work at Peachtree Publishers; a wild visit from my beloved Davina; a trip to Missouri to visit my grandmother, great uncle, and wonderful cousins; an incredible experience in North Carolina at Transformus, my first burn, which included serving breakfast to hundreds of people in the woods AND having my car, the Spruce Goose, get stuck in a muddy ditch and only barely survive the subsequent 5 tows out; AND teaching a crazy week-long all-day critical writing class for 14 middle schoolers at Margaret Mitchell House that involved taking a major field trip EVERY DAY.

I am exhausted.

And guess what! The U-Haul arrives tomorrow afternoon!

Remember how we're moving to Boston? Well, now we are actually starting the moving part. We're packing up our stuff, driving it to Nashville Saturday morning, putting it in storage, and taking the month of August off for our Summer of Camping and Tramping, wherein Nick and I make no plans and do whatever we feel like and drive all around and go camping. I cannot wait.

Sadly, there are a whole lot of boxes to be packed and loaded and unloaded before our carefree August begins. Le sigh.

Moving has always made me a little emo. Hence the Modest Mouse. I realized tonight that I always end up doing the same thing when I move: listening to "Gravity Rides Everything" and writing about how much I hate to move. So I have unearthed some of my emo scribblings about the trials of moving over the last decade or so for your enjoyment.

MAY 2003: Moving out of my dorm room (and temporarily to Davina's house) and into my first apartment
TRAUMA: My suitemate "broke up" with me--i.e. told me she didn't want to be friends anymore.

MAY 14, 2003--the room is emptying itself gradually. boxes have been lugged endlessly and we've almost purged ourselves of this year. and in a very real way. in the cleaning of the suite, one of my suitemates decided that our friendship belongs out in the dumpster behind new res* with the discarded magazines and ill-fitting jeans, things too heavy or not worth moving to a new place...

moving out last year found me in the same place - sitting in my empty dorm room, listening to modest mouse** and crying quietly to myself at the prospect of time in franklin. taking on new things is easy for me - it's giving them up that sucks. this has been a really marvelous year for me despite all the infinite drama.

this morning, i was staring at a pile of clothes that didn't fit me anymore. i could not bear to get rid of them despite the fact that i would never wear them again. ashley said to me, "katie, you never throw ANYTHING away." this statement has rung true for me all day.

*new res = New Residential Hall, now Carrollton Hall, my dorm at Loyola. No one thought New Rez was a weird name for a dorm and we were all sad when it got a real name.
**bonus! according to livejournal, I was listening to "Gravity Rides Everything" as I wrote this entry.

MAY 15, 2003--My sophomore year of college has been drained to the dregs. Last night was a true-blue disaster*...I sat in my spot on Steph’s stripped bed and looked around that room for the last time. I couldn’t help but stare hard at the wake left by four girls who can’t wait to move away from one another...I just wonder how I’ll feel when I read this in a year or two.**

*I still think true-blue disaster is a great turn of phrase. To my dismay, it appears 132 other times on the internet so I can't claim it.
**according to livejournal, I was listening to "Trailer Trash" by Modest Mouse when I wrote this entry.

MAY 2006: Moving out of my apartment in Texas after my first year of grad school
TRAUMA: Facing the end of the hardest year of my life and reckoning with the idea that I had to go back the next fall

Not very much has changed. Three years ago at around this time, I was having a smoke and ljing about my awful move out of New Res. Now I'm having a smoke and ljing about my awful move out of Villa Solano. I hate moving. Particularly moving out. Moving in is kind of fun, actually. I just want to be FINISHED - have all this shit moved out of here and get in the car and just RUN - run away from Austin and this life that has treated me so strangely....

Steve's been very retrospective about this year, and I am all whateva whateva. I don't think I am ready to digest this year yet - I just need to get out of here and clear my head and rest for a while....Too much thinking for tonight. Time to sleep for about twelve seconds before the packing resumes.

JULY 2008: Moving from Texas to Atlanta
TRAUMA: Moving across the country.

I'm sitting looking around my apartment half-packed and there's trash everywhere and stuff all over the floor. I have to get all of this packed up and ready to drive out of town on Saturday morning. I'm leaving for Atlanta and it's really starting to set in. It's so weird to be leaving Austin even though I knew all along that this was a temporary engagement and that I was only gonna be in Austin for a little while which is really bizarre. Nick and I use to say to each other almost every day oh my God we live in Texas and it was so weird and now we're like oh my God we're leaving Texas this is so weird.... I should stop rambling but I just seem like I need to record this feeling. This sort of like half-packed, unsettled, weird feeling, having said my goodbyes but not yet being out of town.*

*If this reads a little funny, it's because this is transcribed from a livejournal voice post, where I did spoken blogs.

* * *

Soooooo...I'm sitting here looking around my half-packed apartment and feeling kind of emo and weird. Not very much has changed. In the same place as always, listening to Modest Mouse and trying to digest the upheaval. I'm ready to just be packed and finished so I can just run away from Atlanta and this life here that has treated me so strangely. I'll miss my dear friends, especially my Lanier, but four 500+ mile moves have taught me that we'll see each other again and keep in touch. I'm not throwing them out with the truckload of stuff I'm taking to Goodwill. I collect friends like owls everywhere I go. I'm hearing Ashley's voice in my head: Katie, you never throw anything away. In a way, was it a compliment?

I just wonder how I'll feel when I read this in a year or two.

Too much thinking for tonight. Time to sleep for about twelve seconds before the packing resumes.

Discussion Question:
Not really a question, just a topic. Discuss how much moving sucksss

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

:15, :14, :13...

Underappreciated solo effort by fellow attention whore Geri Halliwell/Ginger Spice

Things happen in threes, right? Like...celebrity deaths? And...the Holy Trinity?

Something interesting happened in triplicate recently. Over the last three days, my husband and I have been in three big news stories!

BREAKING NEWS ITEM #1: Landing gear problems on our flight from ATL to KC

On Saturday, Nick and I flew up to Kansas City to visit my darling grandmother in northern Missouri. Neither of us are crazy about flying but we considered the 14-hour drive for a weekend trip to be a bit egregious even for us. Our Delta flight (1163) was pretty unremarkable until we started our descent. We got near the airport and then...flew past it. Alert people on the plane started to look a little alarmed. One by one the copilots strode purposefully toward the back of the plane and opened a small hatch. For a moment it felt like the cabin was losing pressure. The flight attendants started to look a little nervous. We flew past the airport again, and then again, so low and close it seemed like we could just jump out, thank you. They finally said over the intercom that there was some issue with the landing gear. People shifted nervously in their seats. After a few more loops past the airport, they finally put the plane down on a runway lined with police cars and ambulances. Turns out it was just a problem with the landing gear sensor and not the the gear itself, which they apparently ascertained by flying right past air traffic control so they could see if the gear was down. Is that seriously the emergency procedure? How much could they really see when we're whooshing by at 400 miles an hour? Whatever. I'm just glad we lived to tell the tale. Nick and I were a little rattled but had already mostly forgotten about it when we heard a report about our flight on NPR national. Which was weird. And cool. Read the boring AJC article


Have I ever mentioned that I am married to a genius? Nick programs robots. His research is particularly focused on human-robot interaction and the way robots and humans learn from each other. Apparently the New York Times came to his lab at Georgia Tech to check out Simon, the robot he's been working on with his colleagues for the last two years under the watchful eye of Dr. Andrea Thomaz. The article is pretty interesting, but what I like most of all is that a PHOTO OF NICK AND SIMON LEADS THE ARTICLE!

Incredible, incredible. There's also a blurb about the Media Lab at MIT, where Nick will be starting in the fall. By the way, if anyone has a copy of the Sunday Times laying around, PLEASE hold onto it for me! We were in the middle of nowhere on Sunday and couldn't find a Sunday Times to save our lives. Read the article!!!

BREAKING NEWS ITEM #3: Our wedding is featured on Offbeat Brides!

Aaand on Monday night, I got word that our wedding was going to be featured on Offbeat Bride! I absolutely adore this website--it features unusual weddings of all stripes and it is hands-down the best website for wedding inspiration, as far as I'm concerned. As soon as we got our incredible wedding photos back, I wrote up a profile and submitted it to Offbeat Bride. Now, almost a year later, here it is! And I have to admit, I really enjoyed reading it! Click here to read it for yourself.


So I think our stock is up. Think I could parlay all this publicity into a guest spot on Law & Order: SVU?

Discussion question: Discuss your brushes with fame. Links encouraged.