28 June 2010

grid project - week 5

Your weekly GP update (sorry it's a day late!):

Sunday, June 20: Went to Third Service.
Third Service is a contemporary worship service at a non-denominational church up the road from me...I have been meaning to go check it out for several months, but I finally got around to going for the first time on Sunday. While it's nothing like the Catholic Mass, I really enjoyed it a lot, especially the music. They do several praise and worship songs at the beginning, say the Lord's Prayer and Apostles' Creed, and then do a sermon on a Scripture passage...and they encourage folks to bring their own Bible so they can follow along and make notes, which I always appreciate. I am definitely planning on going to Third Service as much as I can this summer (in addition to Mass, of course). I think it's going to be a nice supplemental experience for me--something away from my parish so I can really focus without all the distractions of worshiping where I work.

Monday, June 21: Learned a new song on the guitar.
I learned how to play "Eleanor Rigby"...the chords are about the easiest thing in the entire world (literally, C - Em - Em7 - Em6), but the rest (the finger picking and all) is kind of difficult for me since I'm self-taught...so I stuck with the chords. Maybe someday I'll be able to play it all fancy-like, but this is good enough for now!

Tuesday, June 22: (though it applies for this entire week) Survived a bunch of elementary school kids.
Though it might not seem like much of a feat for most well-adjusted adults, it's a serious challenge for me. I was in some skits for Vacation Bible School at my church all last week...and I really don't like kids, so I struggled a lot with it. I know, I know: "But Jessie, aren't you a youth minister?!" Well yeah, because I can deal with middle schoolers and high schoolers...but any younger than that and I go nuts. Maybe someday I'll be able to handle spending significant amounts of time with small children, but for now...nope. Not there yet.

Wednesday, June 23: Did ALL of my laundry.
I'm the type of person who waits until the last possible moment to do laundry. Normally, I just do a couple of loads and have a bunch of clothes left in the hamper. I think, "No problem, I can just do the rest tomorrow!" or something equally ridiculous and improbable...and then the next time I see that awesome shirt is the next time I find it in the bottom of the hamper and say, "I'll do it tomorrow." So on Wednesday, I did all of my laundry. All of it. And it felt AMAZING!!! Yeah...

Thursday, June 24: Read a book for leisure.
I know, seems pretty commonplace, right? Well, it should be, but it isn't. I hardly ever take the time to just sit and read a good book...so I think I'm going to change that by making a conscious effort to read at least a few pages every day. Seems like a good summer project, right? I also want to get back into some of my theology books from college. As crazy as it sounds coming from a person who struggled a lot in school, I've found that I really miss learning.

Friday, June 25: Encountered a GDC without screaming, but instead delivering a clever CSI-like one-liner.
Mmmmmhmm, you can say it. I'm a total BA. So I found another Giant Demon Centipede in my bathroom. I calmly went into the kitchen, got my trusty green creepy-crawly-catcher cup, trapped the GDC in it, and because I had to leave and didn't have time to take it outside, I looked down on it with squinty eyes and said, "Now you stay in there and think about what you've done." Okay, probably not the cleverest thing in the world, but it sounded cool at the time. Never mind that I was talking to a centipede.

Saturday, June 26: Cheered on some friends at a softball game.
The other coaches for the St. T's softball team are all on a team together, so I decided to go to one of their games...it was pretty exciting--it was interesting to see how different grown-ups play than high schoolers. For one, there was wayyyy less walking (like, four-balls-and-you-automatically-go-to-first-base kind of walking) and things were a lot faster. It was a good way to spend an hour, anyway! And I learned more about the game, which is always helpful. Annnnnnd I was very impresssed with my fellow coaches too...they really played great!

Okie dokie, that's it! Until next time...

23 June 2010

the rain in spain stays mainly in the plain

A little howdy-doody to my peepskis back in the Midwest/anyone who cares--rain, rain, rain, Vacation Bible School, rain, rain.

20 June 2010

grid project - week 4

Is it already Week 4 of the Grid Project? Daaaang, time sure flies! Well, let's get right to it--your weekly GP update:

Sunday, June 13: Played foursquare.
After an embarrassing softball game in which we lost to a team that hasn't won a game in THREE YEARS, a bunch of high schoolers came back to St. Teresa's for root beer floats and some sweetomatic hangin' out. We ended up playing foursquare in the parking lot for over an hour. It really brought me back to my Underground Foursquare League days during the summer at St. Ben's--playing on the grass, making squares out of stakes and string, developing our signature moves (UNICORN STING!), and making arbitrary rules ("Name a state every time you hit the ball!"). It was just a really fun time all around, and I was excited to have a chance to get to know some of the softball kids a little better.

Monday, June 14: Started the day with Sun Salutation.
For whatever, reason, I was just in a yoga-type mood when I woke up on Monday morning, so I did the most obvious thing: sun salutation! It's basically a series of poses that help you stretch out and wake up. So I was like, "WHAT UP, SUN?!" and that day ended up being much more productive than I would have imagined.

Tuesday, June 15: Had a delicious smoothie.
The daughter in one of my youth group families invited me over for a mid-afternoon smoothie, and it was amazing! She made it with frozen strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plain yogurt, and Splenda, so it ended up being not too terrible for me, and quite yummy at that!

Wednesday, June 16: Survived a trip to the Home Depot...with three teenage boys, an 8x4 foot piece of foam board, and my YARIS.
I honestly don't know how we pulled this one off, but...we did, and it was awesome. Basically, we had to create a set for Vacation Bible School (which starts tomorrow!), and it's typically a job left to a group of high schoolers...which means that I get to be in charge of it. Great. Anyway, while three girls made palm trees in the youth room, the three boys and I went to the Home Depot and bought a giant foam board (you know, the pink kind that's apparently used for insulation or something). Of course, an 8x4 foot anything is not going to fit in my little car, even without three teenage boys, so the logical thing was to have them cut the board into three pieces before we left the store. The dude who cut it for us definitely got some funny looks from several of his co-workers who actually stopped whatever they were doing to watch him complete the task. (I guess they typically only cut big wooden planks...but when have I ever been conventional? Haha...) Either way, that was only half the adventure, as we also had to get back to the church with our soon-to-be foam hippopotamuses. Five cool points to me for spelling hippopotamuses correctly the first time! Needless to say, it was an adventure.

Thursday, June 17: Dug my summer clothes out of storage.
It has been insanely hot here the last little while...and I finally gave in and pulled the flat tote containing my summer clothes out from under my bed. Now, when I say "summer clothes," what I really mean is "several capris and one pair of shorts" because other than that, my wardrobe stays the same year-round. Coming from Minnesota, I'm conditioned for cold weather--which is why I have absolutely no problem wearing short sleeves in the middle of winter, and why I don't really own any thick sweaters...but I don't think all Minnesotans are like this, and it's possible that I'm just weird like that. This also means that crazy hot weather (hellooooo Pittsburgh!) doesn't do well for me--I've had several headaches these past couple weeks from a combination of generally crazy weather and a bit of dehydration. NOTE TO SELF: Migraines suck, so drink more water, fool!

Friday, June 18: Developed a completely legit budget.
I know, I know...I should have done this months ago, and I kiiiiind of did. But now that my loans are going into repayment, I had some adjusting to do. So now, in addition to having the general monthly amounts that I'll be paying out, I also figured out which paycheck those amounts will be coming out of and what day they're due (or when I have automatic payments scheduled). ALSO! Something slightly related that I'm a bit proud of is this: with the exception of (I think) one or two accounts, all my accounts/statements/bills are PAPERLESS! I'm so happy that I don't have to deal with all that junk mail and all those stamps and envelopes and blah blah blah...it means I can save my envelopes and stamps for writing letters to people who really matter to me. Yay!

Saturday, June 19: Bought fair trade vanilla extract.
I've been meaning to get some more vanilla extract for the last three weeks or so, but I'm quite particular about my vanilla, so I hadn't gotten around to it...until yesterday! I try to buy fair trade vanilla if I can, because I like knowing that the people who produce it receive fair wages and all that...but not many places around here have fair trade certified vanilla extract, so it took a bit of research to find out that a store called Right By Nature in the Strip District has exactly the kind of vanilla I was looking for! So during a torrential downpour, I traveled down to the Strip and got my vanilla, and there was much rejoicing.

Alllllllright, peepskis, it's time for bed. I had quite the early day today (which I will talk about later), so I'm absolutely exhausted! Hope you're doing well--and Dad, on the off chance that you're reading this:


14 June 2010

grid project - week 3

Your weekly GP update:

Sunday, June 6: Saw the Avett Brothers in concert.
I don't really think I need to talk more about this, since I already wrote a whole post on it. But let me say once again that it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. AMAZING!

Monday, June 7: Cleaned my apartment.
It was badly needed. Like...reeeeeally badly needed. So I did it! Anyone who's ever lived with me knows that it's difficult for me to give a flying rat's nose about how tidy my living space is...so it took a heck of a lot of willpower for me to clean everything up. (SIDENOTE: The GDC [that is, GIANT DEMON CENTIPEDE] made another appearance just moments ago. But this time, I didn't scream. AHHHHHH. Well, I dunno...does a digital scream count?)

Tuesday, June 8: Squeezed some lemons.
I know this seems kind of silly, but I'd never squeezed lemons before, and we were having lemon oregano chicken for dinner, so I was charged with this difficult task. And don't worry--I completely prevailed. Who's "we," you ask? Well! Tuesday was an exciting day, because I spent most of it with a fellow youth minister who works down the road (Caroline), her husband (Chris), and their two daughters (one's two and the other is nine months). Caroline and I have similar interests (namely, social justice-y things) and we have very complimentary personalities, so it was nice to spend time together--we accidentally locked ourselves out of her car (thank you, AAA membership! I knew I'd need you someday!), perused the Ten Thousand Villages Store, went to the South Side farmers market, had some delicious dinner, and generally just had some good conversation. It was a wonderful day, and I hope Caroline, Chris, and I can continue to get to know one another and all that. So you see, squeezing lemons was one of many things I could have used...Tuesday was a great day!

Wednesday, June 9: Went for a late-night, post-thunderstorm walk through my neighborhood.
It was so nice...there was hardly any traffic, the stars were finally starting to peek through the clouds after several dreary days of rain, and I was able to sort through some complex thoughts I've had recently.

Thursday, June 10: Went early-morning grocery shopping.
Here's something you might not know about me: I absolutely love grocery shopping. Like, it's one of my very favorite things in the whole world. I especially like going when hardly anyone's there (so, either really early or really late). Even if I do go during a peak time (say, right when people get off work), I like being able to take my time, follow my list, and smile through the chaos. And even though I really could use the self-checkout line, I never do. I love talking with the folks who are working at the register...I remember what it was like to work at Target--having crabby and mean-spirited people snap at me for no reason, or not even acknowledge my existence aside from asking who to make the check out to, or get angry at me because of a store policy that I had nothing to do with creating...and I try to bring a little bit of sunshine to that person's day (or night, depending on when I go). This grocery shopping adventure was especially wonderful because this last month has been a little challenging financially and I was down to soup and sandwiches every day. I admit, I was getting a little stressed out and sick of it, but I kept reminding myself that it's good to want and need things, and it's good to know what it's like to not have something you need. (Sidenote: I should also mention that Pasutti and one of our other friends from CSB/SJU came up for the Ingrid Michaelson concert and it was fantastic...a beautiful night for an outdoor concert enjoyed with good company!)

Friday, June 11: Went to the Farmers Market!
HOORAY! I don't think you understand how much I love the farmers market. It's probably because I was utterly spoiled with the farmers market in St. Joe (the town where my college is located)...either way, I love the farmers market here. I got a bunch of stuff--strawberries (which turned out to be terrible and sour, but oh well...there's always next week!), fresh pasta (the dude who was working gave me an extra whole wheat spaghetti for free!), rhubarb, potatoes, and kettle corn. HOORAY AGAIN!

Saturday, June 12: Had two very nice telephone conversations.
I got to talk on the phone with a couple of my friends from college (separately, of course). I like maintaining those connections back home, whether it's letters or phone calls or Skype chats or whatever...though I've readily admitted before that those aren't ideal means of communication, they still matter to me, and I still get great amounts of joy at getting a letter in my mailbox, or hearing my phone ring and seeing a Minnesota area code, or watching a little conversation box pop up on my computer. So talking to Madeline and Laura was absolutely lovely.

Okay, sorry this is a bit late (not that you really care, I'd imagine)...tonight was a crazy night of youth ministry and I didn't get back to my apartment until 10:30 or so, and I had some other stuff to catch up on too! So please forgive me.

Love you, miss you, blah blah blah!

08 June 2010

shoot i forgot to change the month on my calendar again

As promised, here's a little post about the Avett Brothers concert I went to on Sunday night. I originally didn't think I could go, but things rearranged themselves in my calendar and I was able to go at the last minute! A friend of mine was also going, so I called her a couple hours before the concert and we met up with another one of her friends and drove down to the venue together.

Here's a video I took of one of my favorite songs by the Avett Brothers ("Laundry Room"):

I didn't get home until almost 1:00am, but it was totally worth it...it was definitely one of the best concerts I've ever been to!

And this Thursday, Pasutti is coming into town and we're going to see Ingrid Michaelson again--this time, she's doing a concert at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. It's a good week!

Alright, time to go do something productive! Love you, miss you, blah blah blah!

07 June 2010

grid project - week 2

Your weekly GP update:

Sunday, May 30: Successfully made a batch of apple-cottage cheese pancakes.
I deliberately use the word "successfully" because it is an incredibly rare occurrence for me to get pancakes right. If I have a culinary weak spot, pancakez is it, yo. I have a tendency to under/overcook them or mix the batter too much/little or only half-flip them or make any number of other stupid mistakes. So wasn't I pleasantly surprised when I pulled it off and only screwed up two of them! And they were crazy delicious, too...I feel like they'd be an awesome snack. I'd highly recommend them...and you could even put something like applesauce and cinnamon on them and they'd be delicious.

Monday, May 31: Made whole wheat French baguettes from scratch.
I think that when the Grid Project is all finished, a good percentage of my activities will have had something to do with food. And I'm perfectly okay with that. Either way, I made some baguettes and they were marvelous.  That night, I had dinner with one of my youth group families (the folks I lived with when I first moved here) and I was running late, so I literally pulled the loaves out of the oven, grabbed one, wrapped it in a towel, and brought it over to their house. There's nothing like a fresh baguette, let me tell you!

Tuesday, June 1: Traveled to a new place for small group.
I'm part of a young adult small group through another church in my area, and the people who normally host it at their house were on vacation in Florida this week, so we had it at someone else's house. And this other couple lives in a place that I've never been, so it was kind of exciting to go somewhere new. I can't wait to do some more city-exploring when the summer really kicks in--it seems that Pittsburgh is a pretty happenin' place during the summer, so I'm super stoked!

Wednesday, June 2: Skip Day (I think it's fair to have one of those every once in a while, right?)

Thursday, June 3: Caught up with a friend over Chinese food.
My mentor from college (who lives in Minnesota) just happened to be in Pittsburgh on Thursday for a conference/round table discussion thingy about lay ecclesial ministry, so I picked him up from the airport and showed him around my area a little bit before his event started...and what's a trip to the North Hills without a stop at Sesame Inn? It's seriously the best Chinese food ever (I highly recommend the orange chicken), and it's ultra classy too, haha! We got to chat for a while, which was wonderful. It's nice to talk with someone from Minnesota in person...I mean, I love talking with people on the phone and on Skype and all that, but sometimes I wish I could just squeeze through the phone and talk with people face-to-face. So it was really nice to spend some time with Jeff and talk about life and ministry and all that fun stuff.

Friday, June 4: Wrote a letter to a friend.
I know this probably seems like a cop-out because I write lots of letters...but this is one that's been on my to-do list for a while. Nothing big or dramatic, just a letter that I've been meaning to write, and I did it. Now if only I were a bit more diligent about mailing my letters in a timely fashion...

Saturday, June 5: Created my own ice cream treat at Bruster's.
I love ice cream. I also love Nerds candy. So you may know from an old post that a couple of my youth group kids work at an ice cream place called Bruster's...it's kind of the local equivalent to Dairy Queen. Anyway, because I am so freakin' awesome (haha), I walked over to a convenience store two buildings down from Bruster's (how convenient!) and bought some Nerds. I then gave them to the kid who was working at Bruster's and instructed him to make a Nerds blast (like a blizzard), which he happily did. I've had a Nerds blizzard before, but there was something about this one that was exceptionally delicious...probably because I had to put in a little work to get it.

I know I've designated Sunday as my GP update day, and I know it's technically Monday, but I just got back from a fabulous concert, which I will detail at a later point in time...for now, just know that it was really wonderful.

Love you, miss you, blah blah blah! And don't forget, if you have any GP suggestions, leave them as a comment or Facebook me or whatever...I'd love to hear your ideas of things I can do!

02 June 2010

whiskers on kittens?!

Alright, let's clear up a couple of things:

First, and most importantly...YES, there were literally hundreds of tiny bugs in the pansies and YES, they were out of control so YES, I threw out the flowers. So much for that one. At least I tried? Oh, and my dumb cane (I love saying that) has a tiny mushroom growing in the dirt next to it. I don't know how to fix it...so I figure I'll starve it out--stop watering it for a bit, that kind of thing. A mushroom seems like something that really likes creepy, dark, water-logged situations. So there...we shall see.

Second, and least important of any detail ever...YES, I think I might have accidentally gone on a blind date last Wednesday. I mean, I can't say with 100% certainty, but I just have a feeling that we had different ideas of what kind of casual get-together this was...especially when he paid for my dinner. I went into the situation with the intention of making a new friend...but I'm not exactly sure what he was thinking about the whole thing. Either way, it was terribly awkward. I don't want to talk about it anymore. So let's watch this video instead!