I can’t remember when life started to be like this – to be marked, whether subconsciously or consciously, by the specialness of each day that is, in and of itself, the beginning of a new day, a new week, a new year, a new decade, a new life. Take today: It’s Monday, but it’s also the beginning of finals week, the second Monday of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a new 24 hours, or just a new stretch of a grouped set of hours…
Whenever I did begin to be able to mark it consciously must have been what gave birth to my blog’s tagline, so we can estimate that it must have happened sometime in the past eight years, but it’s that very last part – the grouped sets of hours – that I think has come into play only in the course of this past semester.
Throughout September, I was counting down the weeks in the semester, as I have always tended to do. Then, somewhere around the time that I had my second surgery, the weeks and even the days began blurring together in the most beautiful way. I think it was especially emphasized by our overnight vigil at the end of 40 Days for Life. Recently, I’ve been thinking less in sets of 24 hours and/or seven days and more in terms of activities and the number of hours in between. Sleep is just a consequence of free time, a lack of scheduled activities, an appreciation for the deep and profound silence occasionally found even in a house of seven.
There’s a smoothness to thinking in military time. I don’t know that I have the vocabulary to do it justice; let me try to illustrate it. This is an abridged version of what my upcoming week “looks” like, to me, in my mind. Each entry is encapsulated by sleep and/or driving time and, map-wise, does not account for the spontaneity of a book read to the 4-year-old and the consequent naptime with him; the thirty minutes or two hours spent chit-chatting with Mother; the laser tag outing for the 12-year-old’s birthday that isn’t exactly planned but is sure to happen; the post-exam shenanigans in Clifton that are bound to present themselves in their own good time; the random errands to pick up checks and parking permits; the time wasted on Facebook (oops, but at least I’m honest)…
(Saint Damasus I, Pope)
1030 Doctor’s appt
(Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Finian of Clonard)
(St. Lucy, Virgin, Martyr)
1201 The Hobbit
(St. John of the Cross, Priest, Doctor)
2000 The Celestial
(Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria virgine, gaudete…)
1400 Court of Honor
1800 Festival of Lights
… and on… and on… and on. One long list that just happens to cycle with sunrises and sunsets, yet I should note that I seem to spend probably an equal amount of time out and about in the dark as I do sleeping in the daylight. It’s such an interesting way to live. And I’ll probably start counting down by weeks again next semester, but at least for now, I’m making a point of fully enjoying the luxury of treating life like one long indulgent splurge-in-nature stab at a stream-of-consciousness exercise in English class… or, you know, living on the Enterprise. Military time will do that. It’s even how I read it – “oh-eight-hundred-hours,” etc.
Anyway. So, life…
My second surgery went as well as could be expected. Dr. Parker told me at my follow-up two weeks later that he had spoken to me after the procedure, but I have no recollection of it (yikes). What I do remember is that I was in considerably more pain post-procedure than last time, and did need prescription meds. It didn’t help that I’d gone to sleep with one IV and woken with two, and I woke because the second was being painfully removed from my right hand. It was taped on pretty well, and the nurse was struggling to remove the tape without tearing up my skin, which was what woke me. That hand was consequently bruised for a while, whereas the site of the first IV on my left wrist was fine. I remember being asked to make a call as to whether I wanted something through the IV that would work more quickly but wear off faster, or if I wanted to start the tablets which would take 45 minutes to have any effect. I think I went with IV stuffs first. Who knows… Once all that meh pain was under control, I realized that I was starving. Daddy fed me a full meal of chicken and veggies and apple juice. At that point, I was simply delighted to have solid food going down my throat ten times more easily than last time.
Recovery after that was incredibly quick, and though I’ve started two new cycles since, I haven’t taken anything for pain since being weaned off of the post-procedure meds. I was not expecting such immediate results, and needless to say, I’m thrilled beyond words. I cannot begin to articulate my amazement and relief. I’m consequently working on my testimony for 1Flesh. I started charting only last November; this whole process to implement NaPro in my lifestyle, to discover that I had endometriosis, and to address and resolve the illness, took less than a year! God is so good.
Ashley came to visit me at home the night that I got home from surgery. Paco was the only one in on the surprise. She was able to join us for dinner, and she brought so many treats from herself and Jennifer: chocolate, tea, A Tale of Two Cities, Ender’s Game, a teddy bear, a blanket, a breakfast tray, a mug, Lemon Heads, a book of puzzles, and nine movies! In those three days that I was stuck in bed, I finished the chocolate, read both books, completed at least a dozen puzzles, drank several cups of vanilla chai, made full use of the blanket, ate a quarter of the Lemon Heads, and watched Louisa May Alcott’s Inheritance and Robin Hood (Russell Crowe & Cate Blanchett). I was extremely well occupied. Mother had made paella to celebrate, and Ashley was able to have dinner with us =D
To the great surprise of all of my teachers, I was able to return to school the Monday immediately following my surgery. I was a little slowed down by the four 1-inch incisions that made bending over, sitting down, and standing up a little uncomfortable, but was otherwise ok. Some of my instructors did not even realize that surgery had already taken place; I had a few of them ask me after class when I would be missing for the procedure… That was weird. At my post-op, Dr. Parker simply checked to see that my incisions were healing nicely, and then told me he didn’t want to see me again until I was having kids =)
Our SFL meeting was canceled on the night of Ashley’s birthday due to snow (our planned activity was chalking), so we went to Via Vite earlier than we had originally planned. It was chilly, but Fountain Square is always lovely. The birthday girl had port and creme brulee, and as Anna had mentioned, there was also a dessert tasting sent out for Ashley. She – being sweet and selfless as usual – sent the tasting ’round the table to share, and lack of clean utensils for multiple desserts caused some hilarity. It is worth noting that I have never been so unclassy in a super classy restaurant as I was that night [since starting culinary school]. I’d ordered a cocktail that was just a little too strong, which is saying something, considering the things Cory and Anthony have seen me chug at the Blind Lemon. I’d also ordered sorbet, which came in a martini glass… so I ended up pouring my cocktail over my sorbet and making some sort of highly alcoholic smoothie thing. It was such a good idea, and my extremely unjudgmental company heartily supported and approved the combination.
I had brought a growler of cherry-apple hard cider and a bottle of blackberry wine from Mackinaw Trail Winery to St. Louis for Papa’s birthday. There was SO MUCH GOOD FOOD, three birthday cakes (carrot, ice cream, and tiramisu), videoke, Just Dance 4, jamming, and the best part – the drinking session.
I had never had the opportunity to drink with Papa before. It started with Tito Regie, Unc, Ninong Alvin, and Tita Reena. Dad and Papa, and much later Mama and Mom, joined us eventually. Mom and Mama didn’t drink, but the rest of us indulged in Landshark Lager and Blue Moon Belgian White. Papa classily drank at least two+ glasses-worth of blackberry wine out of a styrofoam cup. I guess he liked it =D
Some of my favorite memories with Papa include sitting on his lap while he would sing the Passion in Tagalog; being danced to sleep in the darkness of the living room to the tinkle of the music box strangely placed over the front door of the yellow house on Dewey; the time I was sitting on Paco’s bed, Papa was standing next to it, and he let me hug him for a long time in silence while Mommy and Mama talked; sitting in the living room with Papa, Mama, and two of Papa’s cousins (I think?), Papa leading us in singing through the book that Mum made for him, Songs My Papa Taught Me, sometimes just listening and sometimes joining in; and Papa telling jokes that are made even funnier when he tries to translate them into English for the benefit of the younger kids – what’s funny is precisely that their essence is completely lost in translation, and the kids don’t get them anyway…
That 85th birthday drinking session has officially been added to my list of favorite memories with Papa. It was the stories that made it. Stories of drinking sessions – mostly set back home in the Philippines – were the main topic of conversation for a while, but then came stories of shenanigans concerning frogs and jellyfish and makeup and toilet paper wads. Some of Ninong and Uncle and Tito Regie’s stories were previously unknown to Mama and Papa, which only contributed to the hilarity, and even Daddy’s drinking shenanigan stories were new to me, or I had not previously heard them in quite as much detail.
Paco had been on Ashley’s committee for the 40 Days for Life, and they had done all the planning for our 12-hour overnight vigil outside of Planned Parenthood. We were featured on The Catholic Beat, and Paco, Grace and I were all quoted!!!! It was bonding time, and I had a good heart-to-heart with Marty. I officially have one more non-Pinoy Kuya =) and he calls me Ate! He’s so sweet.
The night after the vigil, I took Mother on a little adventure to Nicholson’s for dinner and Highland for dessert drinks. The floor was full at Nicholson’s, but there was room at the bar. “You’re having beer?” “Mum… we’re at the bar.” Cranberry-apple chutney and white cheddar on a burger makes for a pretty killer combo. We were waiting to pick up the boys, which is why we had time to go to Highland after dinner, and then Mother was like, “You’re drinking whiskey???” Lol.
We attended Mass at Annunciation for the first time as a family that weekend, and the family was following me to a pew of my choice. I honestly just slipped into the first one that had enough space for all seven of us – but as I pulled the kneeler down, there was Tita Doris smiling at me! It turns out that Gabe’s apartment is just a couple of blocks up from Annunciation, and the family had come to join him for Mass. After Mum and Dad met our SFL and SSP friends, we joined the de Velas for lunch at Cilantro. I’ve really missed them, and right then and there, we planned for them to come over sometime during Thanksgiving break.
They came for lunch the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There was so much to catch up on! I opened two bottles of Pond Hill wine: the 2011 Chardonnay and the cherry wine. Kuya Gabe played Just Dance 4 with Nino and Yena, then indulged us with his usual lovely guitar instrumentals while Paco and I sat with the parents and laughed heartily over Erap jokes, courtship stories, and videos:
I took Paco and Migi to watch Ender’s Game the week after it came out, and I took Yena to watch Thor a couple of days later. We also finally watched Man of Steel as a family, and I finally got Dad to sit down and watch X-Men Origins with me. Mother took us big kids out for Hunger Games the night it came out, and Ashley and I watched it again the night after.
Migi has officially earned his Eagle Scout, and he turned 15 the day after Thanksgiving! We went to Mass and BD’s =)
So many fun things this past month-and-a-half! Beethoven’s 5th with SFL peeps, dinner and karaoke at Mayday for the SFL and with restaurant friends, a cupcake and t-shirt-making party at Marty’s, another round of ice skating and drinks at Cock & Bull with NKU, dinner at Zula with Nathan and Kody, a coffee date with Marybeth, and billiards and drinks the night before Thanksgiving with Joe and Brad and Julz. Also…
The SFL had one last event for the semester entitled Awareness & Alternatives, and we used 1Flesh pamphlets for the first time!!!
God really had such an interesting sense of humor that day… Tere and I had started out the timeblock, and we moved the table once to get out of the rain and were fine, but for some reason, when the guys pictured above showed up, we were moving the table literally every few minutes because the sun would come out… and then the rain would start… and stop… and start… and stop…
Senior Project I presentations happened and passed and I daresay that everything is ok. Chef said that I made good progress this semester, and I’m honestly really happy and very excited about my project. Long story short – I’ve more or less finalized the cookie formulation, and I’m just testing moisture migration at this point and tweaking only if necessary. The frozen dessert formulation has the right basic vanilla flavor profile and the right amount of body from the maltodextrin, I just need to play with my gums a bit more, and I think I’ll have time to play with other flavors as well.
I’ve spent a little more time on main campus since Advent started, and I had the opportunity to catch up with Jordan, Doug, Josh, Jeremy, and Cory last week. I do love being called Ate at school =) and in general I just love having college Kuyas and college little bros. They’re all so sweet.
It has been a perfectly lovely semester, and I’m super excited for the next one =) Not only because it will be the last one, but one of the things I am super super excited for is being in Choruses one last time, and with Marty!!! Call me crazy, but I’m also considering auditioning for Cabaret…