Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gorgeous Albany Photos

Saw this in my Twitter feed...
Which led me to these gorgeous photos of Albany. And I needed to share them because love.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Top 9 Driving Grievances

This post will be a bit of a rant. Hopefully you find it amusing in some sense, or at least can relate a little. Or maybe you'll even realize that you're who I'm writing about, and you'll stop driving like an idiot!

And thus commences my list of things that annoy me while driving:

1)   People who slow down and go ridiculously slow when they pass a cop on the interstate.

Like, you're being ridiculous. If you were going too fast about 10 feet ago, they caught you already. I can just see the cop shaking his head in disgust as people pass him going slower than turtles, and then flooring it as soon as they think they're out of sight. Aye aye aye.

2)   People who ride your bumper instead of passing you.

This goes for on the interstate and on country roads where there's a dotted yellow line. if you want to get ahead so bad, just pass me! No reason to make me nervous! I get that you want to fly by me, but I'm not going to go any faster.

3)   People who don't move over for emergency vehicles.

I've seen a number of methods that people have to avoid stopping or moving over for emergency vehicles, including pulling out in front of them so that they won't get stuck when the light turns red. What irritates me so much is when you're on the interstate (3 lanes, for example), and there's a cop pulled over on the right shoulder, and people in the middle lane don't move over for the people in the right lane to move. Also, when people in the right lane are obstinate and don't move over even though they can.

4)   People who honk at you if you don't accelerate as soon as the light turns green.

I commonly am found waiting one to two seconds after a green light so that I can be sure nobody is going to run the red light perpendicular to me. What is especially frustrating is those people who are in so much of a hurry that they feel the need to lay on the horn if you don't start moving immediately when the light changes to green.

5)   People who leave their blinker on for a mile after they've turned.

There's this one intersection in my hometown that is a Y (a fork, as some people call it). The main route is the road to the right, and it turns slightly off of the main road, but not enough to make people's blinkers shut off automatically. So the end result is a ton of people who leave their blinkers on for a mile, if not more. It's the most frustrating thing ever. Also, when people on the interstate don't turn off their blinker after shifting lanes, and end up looking like they want to take a right turn into the median. Turn it off, stupid. You can't go that way.

6)   And then there's that group of people who don't use their blinker at all.

You know, the type that will chug along with you behind them, and then randomly slam on the brake and make an erratic left turn towards oncoming traffic. You've seen them, and nobody likes them.

7)   Those people who decide it's a good idea to go 30 on the interstate.
... Or just go ridiculously slow anywhere.

I've been stuck behind someone who was going (I kid you not) 30mph on a interstate that has a speed limit of 65. The frustrating part about this (other than the fact that they're going THIRTY!) is that it's highly dangerous. You're driving at 70 (maybe even 75) miles an hour, and you come up quickly on a car that's doing less than half your speed. Factor in any type of weather other than sunshine, and you've got a very dangerous situation, especially in the dark where depth perception can be really difficult. At that difference of speed, you might as well hit a non-moving vehicle going full speed...

8)   Poor Parallel Parkers.

You know them. You're stuck behind one as they back in, pull out, back in, pull out... You try to be courteous and finally you're just like, forget it, and you pass them.

9)   People who blind you.

Like, just turn off the brights! You're making it extremely difficult to see and thus not to hit you. For your benefit and mine, please don't try to burn a hole through my retina.

So that's it for my Top 9 Driving Grievances. I hope you enjoyed reading and were able to relate a little.

And remember, DON'T BE AN IDIOT!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Duhhhlushus! (A Dinner Story)

With the impending storm looming (snowmageddon, as I like to call it), I thought it would be a good idea to do some grocery shopping today, something that I haven't personally done since before I entered the convent (Dad has been buying all the food). I wanted to get some produce and something to make for dinner, so I drove over to Gangstah Chops (everybody has a sketchy Price Chopper nearby. It's a necessity.) and bought some food.

Most of my purchase is visible...

I drove a couple blocks to my apartment and then put away the groceries.


And then I started scheming...

After thinking about it for a bit, I decided to experiment. I'm glad I did.

I cooked the asparagus like I usually do: put vegetable oil in a pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook the asparagus until either slightly tender, or soft.

I coated the beef chunks in Central Market brand Steak Sauce, and then put them in a 2-quart pyrex, and poured on some more sauce. I preheated the oven to 450F and later on turned it up to almost 500.

I cut up a half of each pepper (one green and one red) into short strips. I sprinkled them in the pyrex with the beef and sauce and put it in the oven to cook.

I had leftover rigatoni in the fridge, so I warmed it up in a pot of boiling water.

When all the components were cooked, it was time to put it together. Pasta on bottom, with asparagus laid over it, and topped with the beef, sauce, and peppers.

I've never been able to make an 
aesthetically pleasing dish, but this one is!

Dad thought it was good, too!

This dish was definitely one of my most interesting ones yet. The spice of the steak sauce was really complimented by the heat of the peppers, and the beef was cooked to about medium-well, which gave it a nice texture to compliment the pasta (which I cooked past aldente) and the asparagus. A really great mix of flavors and textures. I had a great time cooking this dish and experimenting with the ingredients.

And I had some fun too before preparation...

Friday, January 23, 2015

*shoves badge in your face*

On my Twitter account I describe myself as the "Chief of the Liturgy Police." This is a true statement. Anyone who challenges me on this subject will be countered with my ultra shiny not plastic badge and a face-full of GIRM.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I love the Liturgy and I love to defend it. Part of the fun of knowing what's actually going on during Mass is being able to correct things when they're wrong. Making slightly offhand comments about Father not wearing a maniple to the Sacristan after Mass is part of the thrill of being Chief. Nobody else can do that, mostly because they don't have a clue what they're talking about anyway. Can you quote Redemptionis Sacramentum off the top of your head? ... Didn't think so.

[here's where I make a plug so maybe I'll get funding] Why do we need the Liturgy Police? The simple answer can be described in 1,000 words, but I think a picture would suffice.

Without the aid of the Liturgy Police, occurrences such as this will be come common, even normalized. Our Catholicness needs protecting, and who else is more equipped to lead the protecting than an outspoken ex-postulant who sleeps with her Latin-English Code of Canon Law by her bed? That's right. Nobody.

You may wonder where these qualifications come from.

Keep on wondering...

Now, there was a question from a reader if anyone else can be elevated to the status of Chief. The simple answer to that is no. Similar to the office of Pope in which the elected makes decisions he feels are right, calls out those who are wrong, and has infallible speech, and also the part that there's only one of them, Chief of the Liturgy Police is, except in extreme cases, limited to one incumbent at a time.

Although you cannot be a Chief of the Liturgy Police (because, well, that position is already taken), you can certainly make my job easier. As the corny saying goes, "if you see something, say something."

Please realize that this was slightly satirical. 

If you reeeeeallly want one of those badges maybe we can talk about it. Tweet me.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Not-So-Great Expectations

I don't know where to start with this one.

I have never identified with any sort of feminist crap before in my life. In all honesty, I believe that women make up a lot of the garbage that they say about "oppression," "worse wages than men," and "war on women." And to be truthful, those arguments are all full of shit, to some degree. But this is the one time I will ever step over the line, shake hands with a feminazi, and repeat after them:

Women have been given unrealistic standards to 
live up to when it comes to their bodies.

I have always struggled with how I look. I think every girl can say the same thing. There's always something that just isn't right - my nose is crooked, my belly's too big, I hate my hair, my feet look weird - something! That, unfortunately, is part of being a woman. We want to look perfect, for ourselves, and for others as well. But the factor that's making this worse is pressure from the outside world - anything outside your own brain that's telling you what you need to look like, or what number needs to identify you. Somehow these voices that we hear around us, whether it be from the TV, radio, even our own families, creep into our spongy female brains, and they take over. 

(don't mind the derp face)

Today, I left the house feeling great. I've got on a really cute, modest outfit that I think might even be Pinterest material. I look fantastic. I went to visit my Gram (she's in the hospital, so please say a prayer!), and then went to do some errands. I stopped at Dad's office to say hi and get some bottles to return. Somehow we got on the topic of my weight. I mentioned how much I weigh and his response was "You should weigh 50 pounds less than that!!" I. Wish.

Honestly, I don't remember ever weighing that much. Ever. Maybe in 5th grade I weighed that much? And I wasn't a fat kid, either. I was actually fairly skinny. But this isn't the first time in recent months that my own father has said something hurtful about my weight. Maybe a week or two, he said to me, "I had the weirdest dream last night. We were in the driveway, and you got out of your car and you were skinny! You actually looked kinda cute." As if I don't look cute now? Thanks, Dad.

When people say things about my weight (thankfully it's not often, but when they do,) my whole psyche goes into conflict. I know that God doesn't care if I have a couple extra pounds, He loves me for who I am trying to be for Him. But at the same time, I know I'm not happy with my weight. It's a well-known fact that the vast majority of women are not happy with their body. I wish I were skinny, not only for myself, but for my future husband. I want to be everything that is beautiful for him, whoever he is, and I can't say with any amount of certainty that I look anything close to what is beautiful. Confidence is beautiful, and I currently am lacking that.

The "Lame Grotto"

When people criticize how I look, or even when I see myself and have negative feelings towards what I see, I'm conflicted. Part of me wants to run for miles until every ounce of unnecessary fat is gone. Another part of me feels so hopeless that I just want to binge eat. Does anyone else share this feeling? Regardless which option I choose, I know I'm going to be disappointed in the end because realistically I know I can't run for more than 20 minutes, and that's being gracious.

I'm no stranger to self-starvation. I did it in high school, and I lost a considerable amount of weight for the time that I did it. I never ever want to go back. It was not a good place to be. I looked good, but even the weight loss didn't make me feel better. I knew I was cheating, and as soon as I ate like a normal human being again, it all came back, and then some.

What really bothers me, though, is that these assaults (like those of my father) are coming at us women from all angles. Scrolling through Facebook (clearly I wasn't exercising...), I saw this post. How could I not stop to look at it?

How could I ever expect to look like that?! Many of the comments thank her for "inspiring" them, or "encouraging" them to lose weight. This does nothing but depress me. This is such an unrealistic standard to hold oneself to!

Besides the fact that women are being fed this absolute garbage, I'm worried about the fact that our men are being fed this too! I'm worried, as I stated before, that I won't live up to their expectations of beauty that they've been given. I'm worried that my future husband will wish that I were skinnier, more toned, that there was less of me...

All I need right now is a hug and someone to assure me that they love me, that they'll support me through the weight-loss process that I want to start (uhhh-gain), and that I'm beautiful. This isn't supposed to be a sappy post looking for attention. Please don't think that. I'm just fed up with the garbage that we're being fed, and I want you all to know it.

Ladies, you're beautiful just for being you!

PS: I hardly ever swear or use any language that could possibly be seen as offensive online. But this topic really really bothers me, and I feel like speaking like I would out loud about this topic. Sorry. Also sorry for that ridiculously skinny lady's skimpy bathing suit. But hey. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Story Time - Ford's Theatre

Everyone's got that one excruciatingly embarrassing story from their childhood. Well, I can think of a couple... Here's my top embarrassing story, for your enjoyment:

When I was about 12, my family (Mom, Dad, my little brother Kamryn, and I) took a trip to Washington DC. It was vacation for everyone but Mom, as she was going to a CME conference while we visited tourist attractions. One afternoon after her classes were over, we met up to visit Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was shot. We stepped into the performance area and we saw that booth where the famous President was shot. We marveled at how small the theatre was - a fraction of the size of Proctors!

Downstairs, below the stage, is a museum. Mom and Dad dragged us down there to look at artifacts and photos. Mom spotted a life-size cardboard cut-out of Mr. Lincoln and just had to get a picture of us next to it. I took off my forest-green ratty backpack with all my stuffed animals and books in it, and stood next to the freakishly tall figurine.

*click* Mom was satisfied with her photo, so we kept on walking around the museum, looking in glass cases and reading articles about the shooting. Suddenly we heard one of the employees call, "The museum is now closing. Please exit the building." Confusion. I looked to my mother. "Mom, I thought the museum doesn't close until [sometime many hours later]?" She shrugged and we headed up the stairs to leave.

As I climbed the stairs, I noticed how light my back felt, and when I reached over I noticed that my backpack was still off. "I forgot my backpack," I turned around to get it. As I approached it, the employees watched me carefully. "Is that your backpack?" They asked. "Yes," "Are you sure?" "yes, that's mine." They opened it carefully to reveal the stuffed animals and toys that I had brought with me.

"You can come back in now!" the employees called to the herd of frustrated visitors. I was so confused. Then I realized- They thought my backpack was a bomb!

I remember my mother and father talking with the employees about it afterwards, and I was so upset I demanded that we leave. How embarrassing! We crossed the street and I remember slinking to the ground behind a box truck and crying. Mom obviously thought it was hilarious and she couldn't wait to tell her friends about this one. I, on the other hand, was mortified, and I wanted to disappear into nothing.

The weird thing is, I've never seen the photo of me next to Lincoln.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Visiting the Sisters

Last week, my best friend Michael and I took a mini road trip to visit the Sisters and to meet up with some friends (@CatholicKnight3 and @CatholicDame3) we met through Twitter. We got up bright and early Thursday (1/8) morning and headed out to the good ole Bay State. It was neat retracing my steps back to my old home, and stepping into the Chapel again was breathtaking, especially because of the Christmas decorations.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel

St. Elizabeth's Convent

Doesn't that just take your breath away?

So we went to morning Mass with our friends from Twitter, and then were given breakfast and a tour of the Monastery by Sr. Christopher Margaret. Following our tour we decided that we were (still) hungry and went to a little diner and got lunch and talked for what felt like hours!

After many a dirty look from the wait staff we decided we had been there too long and went to sit in the car for a while and figure out, what next? 

The thinking cap...

We wandered around the mall for a while, and then split up as they had to get home. Michael and I went back to the Monastery for Rosary and said goodbye to the Sisters.

Michael and I then met a friend of mine from the Center, Catherine Adair, for dinner. If you're not familiar with Catherine, you should be. She is an incredible, inspiring woman who has an amazing story to tell. She is now a Pro-Life Speaker and her testimony is extremely moving. We had a great time chatting with her over dinner. Following dinner, Michael and I headed back home to the good Capital Region.

Our trip was short but it was really great to see the Sisters and meet up with some friends. The Convent is beautiful as always and even though I'm not in Formation there anymore, I'm really glad I was able to visit and see the Christmas decorations and greet the Sisters.

Cheers, Massachusetts. I'm proud to say I lived 
in such a glorious State for all of 2 months.

Please forgive any vulgarity towards the end 
of this HILARIOUS video. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another Late-Night Food Adventure

So once again, I couldn't sleep the other night, so cooking ensued.

Laying in my bed, scrolling through Pinterest (who's surprised), I came across a tantalizingly delicious recipe for cheesy bread. I'm a woman; I love cheese and I love carbs. I went to the kitchen. Alas, no ingredients for cheesy bread. Looking in my closet/pantry, I did see the humongous box of chocolates that the Sisters sent home with me and my father after a visit a number of months ago. Hmmm...

I gathered the ingredients for chocolate covered apples. Documentation below:

1) Slice apples.

I used 2 granny smith apples,

2) Start peeling!

I must've unwrapped about 100 of these little square chocolates. Make sure you break them into smaller pieces to make for quicker and smoother melting...


3)  Melt!

You don't want to just put the chocolate bits into a pan and place it on a stove. The best way to melt chocolate evenly without burning it is a method called "double boiling," where you place a little water in a bottom pot and let it simmer/boil while a pot/pan above it contains the material you wish to melt down. In this case, I started off using the frying pan pictured in the first picture, but found that it would be too difficult to dip the apples in it later, so I transferred the chocolate to a small pot and placed it over the (now clean) pan. The heat from the boiling water below heats up the pan and transfers the heat evenly to the melting chocolate.


N.B. DO NOT add anything to the chocolate!

4) Dip!

Now that the chocolate is evenly melted and no chunks are left, it's time to dip the slices! I speared a fork into one side of the slice and dipped the rest of it in the chocolate to cover as much as possible. Looking back, I probably should have put them on wax paper or something, but whatever...

5)   Cooling

Don't do what I did - don't put them in the freezer. It messes with the texture of the apple, and it just wasn't good. I guess just put them in the fridge instead of the freezer...




Friday, January 9, 2015

Top 14 Favorite Things in the Capital Region

I've lived here all my life, but I never appreciated how beautiful and historically rich this area is, and I certainly never learned to love all the fun places that surround me. Well aware that many of you may not live in the Capital District, I am going to write about it anyway in hopes that if you ever visit, you might see these places (even go out of your way to visit them!) and think, "Hey! That girl wrote on her blog about that place. Let's check it out!" The following is a list of 14 things/places/etc. that I love about the Capital Region and you should too. Why fourteen? you may ask. Well, honestly, I was going to do 15 or 20, but I got major writer's block at 14, and I've been working on this post for a week (maybe even more) and figured I might as well post it as is. So, without further ado, let's introduce the lineup! In no particular order,

1)  Architecture of Albany

The rows of attached houses on Madison and other streets have such detail on their facades, and some have quite gorgeous color palates. The architecture in Albany is so broad, and yet it compliments itself. The modern skyscrapers adjacent to the 1800 architecture of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception show you a wide range of styles. You can step out of your apartment on Madison and be greeted by the modern buildings on one side, and the old fashioned city architecture on the other. Some streets (Lark St comes to mind) have their brick roads showing through at parts, reminiscent of horse-drawn-carriage days. The Capitol Building and other State Buildings (like the D&H Building) remind me of castles. And the tall skyscrapers remind me of bigger cities like NYC and DC. The city has an all around feel to it. It's almost like anyone can find a district they like. You'll just have to go take a look for yourself.

2)  Touristy Lake George

A little ways away from Albany now, let's take a look at Lake George, St. Isaac Jogues' historic discovery (Lac du Saint Sacrement)! Another location to visit on your next trip to the area, it is the perfect site for a hot summer day. Put on your flip flops and maxi dress and walk Canada St. You'll often hear live music playing from various venues. Grab a bite to eat and then pull up an Adirondack Chair to lounge on the beach. Sometimes I like to go and just people-watch... Another good time to visit is the fall. Upstate New York is renown for its gorgeous fall colors.

3)   Bier Abbey

More specifically, the Beer-BQ. It's a BBQ dipping sauce but with some sort of beer infusion. I would go there just to order their fries and dip them in this glorious creation. I don't drink (and I really don't like beer) but going here with friends has proved that their food is great and their atmosphere is really cool, and from what they tell me, the beer is really good.. Definitely a place to grab dinner and drinks.

4)   166 Glen "here"

A whimsical shop formerly located on Glen St in Glens Falls is soon relocating and being dubbed with a new name ("here"). I expect that its cute contents will continue in their path of being adorable, collectible, locally-made, and intriguing. There's almost a weekly rotation of new furniture and household products. The really good ones obviously stay longer (the scented soaps they carry are amazing and have continued to be stocked since the opening of the little shop months ago), while more rare pieces (usually of furniture) are snatched up within days, sometimes hours. If you're from the area, frequent stops here are a must. Get to know Tim, the owner, and snag some neat items!

5)   St. Joseph's Church, Troy

I'm slightly partial to this Church because it currently is the home of the Latin Mass Community in our Diocese. No photo can do this Church's interior any justice. It's one of those structures that makes you say WOW when you step inside. The exterior of the Church is a bland brick (the original red stone that once coated the building is now incorporated in the Cathedral), but once you enter, you see the wonder contained within. The marble altars (1 high altar and 2 low altars) reach heavenward and the detail on the walls and ceiling are intriguing. What makes this Church so special in this Diocese (apart from the Mass said here at noon) is its tiffany windows. These windows depict the lives of Christ and Our Lady in a most artful manner. They wrap all around the Church, and into the Sacristy. One could easily spend hours visiting each of the windows and meditating upon the depictions therein. Definitely a place to see.

6)   The various Consignment Shops

I tend to be really cheap, and especially now since I still am unemployed and left the Convent with just about nothing. It's a huge blessing that we have such a variety of consignment and discount stores around here. Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet, Peter Harris, and Finders Keepers are my favorites at this point, but there are so many more to discover, and you'd be surprised about the gems that are hidden in these stores!

7)   Stewart's Shops

It's something that you never notice until it's gone. Again, growing up here I took for granted the awesome stores we have. When I visited Convents in other states I was shocked to see the lack of Stewart's Shops! They're around every corner here. They're famous for their ice cream, which is delicious and has every right to be famous...

8)   Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Again, I'm partial to this venue because I sang here while in Madrigals. It's worth going to any performance there just to hear the acoustics and to look at the detail in the interior of the space. It's gorgeous. Names of famous composers encircle the ceiling. It's just a beautiful place.

9)   DTCT

Downtown City Tavern is located in Downtown Glens Falls, and has like, the best pizza! The atmosphere of the little place is radiant but chill, and their food is delicious. They lifted a real brick oven into the kitchen, and their pizza has that real, authentic taste. Deeeelish!

10)   Schuyler Bakery

Located in Watervliet, this bakery is known for having pastries for sale between $.25-2.00, and they're delicious! 

11)  Adirondack Mountains

If you're here for the summer or even just driving through, one of the most breathtaking sights in the area is the view from the top of one of the 46 Adirondack Mountain peaks. Go hiking up one of the mountains (there's a club to motivate you to hike all 46!), or simply drive up some of the smaller ones (Prospect Mountain in Lake George is a popular one).

12)   St. Francis Chapel

The Chapel of St. Francis on Wolf Road is nestled in a shopping center and offers Mass three times daily, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation nearly all day long. Devotions to the Sacred Heart and various Saints are scattered throughout the week, and Adoration and Benediction are celebrated Monday through Friday. Although I don't like to attend Mass here, I do appreciate and make use of the hours for Confession, heard by the Friars that staff the Chapel.

13)   Saratoga Race Track

Are you a fan of horse racing? Plan a trip around the Travers Race that takes place annually in Saratoga since 1864. There are other events that take place at the track (cheese and wine tastings, "fashion Saturdays," and even "Family Mondays"). [Also check out "Racino."]

14)   Lark St. 

(Click the photo to go to the website)

Whether you're getting a burrito at Bombers, buying healthy ingredients for dinner from Lark St. Natural Foods, or trying on a tux at Waldorf's, Lark Street offers a range of choices for food, drinks, nightlife, and shopping. Many buildings not only have ground floor shops and venues, but basement space as well where shops and eateries can be found. There's a wide variety of dining venues on this very popular street in Albany. Just make sure if you go out for drinks, you don't wander down the street to Lark Tattoo or Lark Vegas Piercing...

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please share it with your friends.
God bless!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Epiphany OOTD

You didn't think I'd be one of those to post the occasional OOTD? Yeah you were wrong.

I sang in the Schola for this evening's Epiphany Mass at St. John the Baptist in Greenville. Mass was beautiful and it was a blessing to be able to make the trek down there, even though the weather didn't look so great earlier...

Practicing before Mass

Anyway, here's what I wore tonight:

Black button-down: Sears 

Skirt: Old Navy

Leggings: Sears
Boots: Famous Footwear (Madden Girl)

Belt: Sears

Anyway, I thought it was kinda cute...