Tag Archives: alcohol

I’m at home in the routine

I’m on a suburban retreat for the weekend–hiding out in my parents’ house and joining their in their normal routine: dinner out Friday night (to bed by 9pm sharp), errands Saturday, sunrise mass, breakfast at the “Star”,  Sunday night pizza and a movie.  It is a routine I have grown to love and won’t let them stray from when I come home.  They always complain that they’re being lame by going to bed so early…but I secretly revel in the routine.

Today they finalized an offer for a new home.  Perhaps my feelings will change on moving day, but my mom was surprised when I said that I didn’t have much of an emotional attachment to the present home–despite the fact that I’ve lived here since I was eight.  That means birthday parties, sleep overs, prom pictures, and the majority of my Christmases have occurred under this roof.

But, I know that home is where the dinner table is–as long as they’re there with the bottle of wine and we’re all asleep before SNL comes on.



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Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home

I have this slight inkling of what you’re going through.

All you want to do is run off the plane–you’ve been cramped in that space for hours (Thank God it was a direct flight)–but you know that the process of returning to your homeland is nothing but “hurry up and wait.”  On the other side of those doors, only a few hundred meters away (heck, this is America, let’s say “yards”) is your home: in the arms of people you love.  Yet, all these damn lines and paperwork prevent you from seeing those faces, despite the obvious proximity after so many months away.  All you can do is try to be patient.  Perhaps pray a few decades with Mary as you watch the passports ahead of you being stamped with an abrupt “thunk” every few seconds.

Oh, that stamp.  Some day you’ll look back on it–“Admitted.  United States Customs. September 30, 2008”–and think about this day.  The waiting in line.  The ability to listen to conversations around you and comprehend the language fully.  One day the sight of that stamp will cause the past months to come flooding back–the smells, the letters, and tears, and the blissful nights with wine.

Next you’re on to the baggage claim.  You hardly even care about it at this point.  Material goods don’t mean as much as the people on the other side of that door…which is now closer, but still blocked by those men in Mylar vests.  Wait…still no bag.  Everyone else is looking over-tired too.

Eventually it makes its way around the baggage carrel (that looks like it might be fun to ride.  Part of you wants to be 5 again so you can and it wouldn’t be weird.)  You mount that oh-so-familiar bag on your back.  Perhaps for the last time for a good while.  Wait in yet another line to had the Mylar men a form that promises you aren’t going to poison the country.

And then comes that corridor.  The doors are at the end.  So are the crowds of people.  Amid which are two faces you cannot–will not–live without.

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Meet Bucky

If you’ve ever visited (or slept over, only to emphasize the point) my lovely abode you know quite well that I live above 2 bars.  Having had the windows open for the last few months I’ve become overly familiar with Thursday karaoke night and always know where there is a touchdown/home run.  I’m also starting to recognize habitual voices.  One in particular I’ve named Bucky.  His voice is rather distinct.  I’ve never seen him, but am pretty sure he’s had a tracheotomy or three and continues to be an avid smoker. He’s always yelling.  Actually, add possible alcoholic to that list, seeing how sometimes I hear him to the left of the apartment, sometimes to the right–always beginning in the early afternoon and continuing late into the night.

I cannot help but wonder what his job is.  Or was, really.  He’s obviously putting in some extensive hours.

I would be totally weirded out if I ever met him.  But I don’t intend to go drinking downstair anytime soon…seeing how I know the crowd in those joints all too well.


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Poland, place of rest

I’ve been asked to comment on my travels abroad. So here it is. Sorry for the delay Mr. Parkinson.

First of all, why Poland?
Well, my friend Elizabeth had been suggesting I come visit her in Paris for a number of months. But as the year went on time and money began to dwindle and I’d brushed it off. Unfortunately, after sitting around with my parents and a bottle of wine (a bottle? make that 2) sometime back in the spring I started to get the travel bug. Liz said, “pick the place. I’ll meet you there.” Poland: relatively inexpensive, holy, and wouldn’t be mobbed by beach-crazed Americans. Poland it was.

I arrived a few hours late and was met at the airport by my friend Jake, who I’d met a few months earlier in Pennsylvania at the Theology of the Body course. He was a bit confused as to where my luggage was–as was I. Amsterdam, supposedly. My layover there had been interesting, it was the one place in the world where my limited Dutch skillz came in handy. Everything was also in English as well, so really, Dutch continues to be a useless language. Lekker!

I met the travel-weary Elizabeth at the hostel and we spent the evening eating perogies in Old Town Warsaw.

After our visit with the very helpful reference librarian, we took a few moments to show our apreciation.

Day 2 we ventured to the library to attempt to find out where Liz would go to do family research. The reference librarian was VERY helpful, despite the old school computer catalogs and our lack of Polish.

Still not quite sure what this cake actually was...we dedcided coconut and goodness.

The afternoons (this one being no exception) were often spent going to mass and having a cappuccino. Jake drove us to Krakow via Częstochowa–in which lies the Black Madonna and Polish National Shrine. This place is a big deal, but I felt completely stupid as I 1) don’t speak Polish and 2) don’t really know anything about the Black Madonna. But, I was able to stand about 20 feet from her for mass–which I presume has some sort of special graces attached to it.

Day 3 was spent milling around the Old Town of Krakow. Eating the usual picnic lunch (large pretzel looking things, cheese, fruit), shopping and mass. On this particular day I made friends with the cute security guard at the Cathedral, who snuck me into the sanctuary for free to pray before mass. It is a good thing he didn’t ask for my number because my grandma made it very clear I was not to fall in love with a Polish boy and get married. Whew. Close call.

Day 5. Sunday. Papal Tour.
Jake had told us to catch a train to Wadowice, birth place of Karol Wojtyla, and on the route back we’d also be able to stop at the convent of St. Faustina. So Liz and I ventured to the train station about 40 minutes before the scheduled departure (the train station was across the street). Despite our best efforts at Polish and pointing at the printed email from Jake, the ticket ladies kept telling us to go “Hall” “down there” “left!” After about 5 tries to buy tickets we were eventually brought to a tiny office where we bought official PAPAL TRAIN tickets. And once on the platform this disneyworld ride pulled up:

more to come..


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“I have both those things!”

I had a miserable day yesterday due to an error (that was wholly mine) that I made at work.  I was frustrated and embarrassed and knowing that Jake and I had plans for the evening, I sent him a message: “Bad day.  I need you and tiny cakes.”

At 5pm the city was lively and warm and we talked some three miles for cupcakes and ice cold skim milk.  There was also a beer stop somewhere in the walk too.  Amid the joy of it all the knot in my stomach untangled and things were back to good.  We’re so city.

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Went to a bar in Lincoln Park tonight and was totally dig’n the atmosphere and the number of boys in collared shirts.  As the evening wore on the place started to fill and (although I was in a flirty mood) the attention of the opposite sex was not at all drawn to me.  I looked around at the other girls with shiny, sparkly, and revealing tops and came to the sad realization that argyle was probably not the best choice for the evening.


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stolen quotes

My grandpa owns a tavern.  Did I ever tell you that?  In a few weeks it is closing and is probably going to end up being something really depressing…like a Baby Gap.  Or perhaps someone will think it is a tribute to this town–the way keeps changing.

I used to go there when I was little and sneak behind the counter and grandpa would lift me up, my eyes peering into the candy drawer, and I would pick a Clark Bar every time.  Last weekend I went to that bar and had my first ever drink within its walls.  It is also my last ever.  And despite all the familiar faces and smiles I was overcome by sadness.

I don’t think about John everyday.  But I think about him often.  My Uncle John passed away unexpectedly a number of years ago, but despite his death he was there.  Despite our aching hearts he was there as if he’d never left his place behind that counter.

“You never get over it.
You just get used to the idea.”


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